Reviews for month


If It Rains Pancakes : Haiku And Lantern Poems
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Cleary, Brian P
Rowland, Andy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Brian Cleary has branched out into a Poetry Adventures book this one featuring the Japanese forms of haiku and lantern poems. The first half of the book first introduces haiku to the young reader with its three lines and 5-7-5-syllable pattern. Usually about nature he expands these poems to capture moments about school, pizza, pets and more in 20 poems. With two to three per double-page spread there is a pleasing amount of white space and appropriate, attractive, and at times humorous color illustrations. The other part of the books starts with an introduction to lantern poems with the form syllables per line-- 1-2-3-4-1. The first one will get readers' attention: Sneeze-- ah-Choooo-- hurricane out of my nose blows. Leave it to Mr. Cleary to provide a clever way to introduce a new subject to elementary students. Concludes with four books for further reading and four web sites.
Foul Trouble
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Feinstein, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 02, 2014
Dame, Anne
Terrell and Danny are both excellent basketball players, but Terrell is being heavily recruited by colleges who are trying to tempt him with money, clothes, cars, and other promises. While this is illegal by NCAA terms, it certainly doesn't seem to stop everyone from offering - or players from accepting. Danny and Terrell try to stick together to stay strong as well as finish out their high school careers but the temptations are very beguiling. Feinstein takes a step away from sports mystery to explore the dangerous and pervasive role of recruiting in the sports world. A bit pedantic but absolutely realistic and will appeal strongly to sports fans. Some mild swearing, drug and alcohol use, sexual references. Nothing graphic.
Sophie's Squash
SCHWARTZ & WADE [SCHWARTZ & WADE]
Miller, Pat Zietlow
Wilsdorf, Anne
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is not only a good story for fall, but a great story in general. After selecting a squash from the farmer’s market, Sophie undermines her mother’s plan to bake it. By dinner time Sophie has used marker to give it a face, treated it like a baby and friend, and named it Bernice. Bernice goes everywhere with Sophie until Sophie is finally forced to admit that the freckles are really mold. When the farmer tells her that a squash stays healthy with fresh air, clean dirt and love, Sophie is up to the task. She tucks Bernice into a bed of soil and kisses her good night. While snow covers the ground she has to be content with the new friend her father brings, Ace the fish. When spring arrives Sophie happily greets a small green sprout and resumes her friendship with Bernice, who ultimately has twins, Bonnie and Baxter. Reminiscent of Pumpkin Jack in the circular story and love of a squash, the timing, wording, and poignancy of the strong character of Sophie and her beloved squash will charm children and adults alike. Anne Wilsdorf’s illustrations in watercolor, ink and China ink are perfect!
John Burroughs
Checkerboard/abdo [Checkerboard/abdo]
Mattern, Joanne
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 02, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Wallace Stegner or John Muir by Joanne Mattern in the same Checkerboard Biography Library Conservationists series. This title features John Burroughs, a farmer, teacher and nature writer, who was famous in his own time for bringing the nature experience into schools and homes. He was a friend of such famous people as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt, and a colleague of John Muir.
Wind In The Willows
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Grahame, Kenneth
Roberts, David
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
April 03, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
Kenneth Grahame's classic tales of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger get a gorgeous update in this scintillating new edition. David Roberts' illustrations manage to be modern and antique at the same time; his watercolor illustrations rely on very fine lines with meticulous attention to detail. The animals wear waistcoats and trousers with intricate herringbones, checks, or chevrons all carefully drawn out; the walls of Mole's living room are papered with rows of chic triangles that would be at home in a Pottery Barn catalogue. With the animals' whiskers often curled into thick moustaches, the whole book has the hipster air of a Wes Anderson film. Roberts also wasn't stingy with his art: the book bursts with full-page and double-page paintings, other pages are decorated with spot illustrations or little motifs. The only complaint is that a chapter of the book, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," was removed from the text. An editorial note states that this was done because that chapter "pauses the action and is largely about the god Pan from Greek Mythology." But kids have been skipping "boring" chapters and reading the "good parts" for years; couldn't the editors have trusted children to make this decision on their own?
Clara And Davie
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Polacco, Patricia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 03, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This picture book biography introduces elementary children to heroine Clara Barton in her early years. From her Christmas birth she is the favorite of her next oldest brother 10-year-old Davie. He is her teacher, protector and best friend. When her oldest sister punishes her for her lisp, Davie introduces her to a newborn, motherless pup that grows healthy through Clara’s care. She becomes known for her healing hands and green thumb throughout her farm community. Homeschooled after a disastrous experience with mean ridicule for her speech, she thrives with the family sharing in her education. Her sharp mind remembers numbers and flowers; she tackles medical library books and even earns the respect of boys for her athletic abilities. Her crowning achievement is nursing Davie back to health over several years after a horrendous fall from the barn rafters breaks both his legs. She grows up to be the important person he predicts. The author’s note explains Polacco’s personal connection as Barton’s relative and Clara’s adult accomplishments—Civil War nurse, founder of the Red Cross, and advocate for human rights. The story captured second graders’ attention in this lengthier picture book with Polacco's trademark illustrations.
Africa
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Klepeis, Alicia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 03, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
ABDO’s Core Library imprint brings us the Continents series. Each 48-page book contains information about the people, animals, culture and places on the continent being described. Young readers will be drawn to the full-page photos and the numerous text boxes that focus on extended information on a single topic. A map showing the countries and major cities begins the book, followed by a page of facts (highest point, key industries, common languages and more). A half page of “Further Evidence” asks students to think about the chapter, refer to a web site which has links to further sources such as National Geographic and Encyclopedia Britannica, and then rethink any questions they have. I appreciate the way the questions are written so that students aren’t answering rote questions but are be asked to think and form their own conclusions. Includes contents, glossary, book and web sources, and index. A good resource for both intermediate readers and for older students who may be struggling with or learning the English language.
Secrets at Sea
DIAL [DIAL]
PECK, RICHARD
Murphy Kelly
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 04, 2014
Kline, Karen
Helena tells us this story set in the late 1800s just prior to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Helena, the matriarch of the family, is now the eldest of her three sibling mice whose fates are intertwined with the human family they share a home with. The upstairs Cranstons, as the mice refer to their humans, are consumed with taking a voyage to England to give their eldest daughter Olive a chance at a husband. At the urging of the old mouse fortune-teller, Aunt Fannie, Helena decides that to save her own mouse family from their trivial pursuits she must choose their fates and travel abroad with the Cranstons to seek better fortune. Little does she know the escapades that await! Tea with Her Majesty the Queen’s mouse-in-waiting, mouse scout training for little brother Lamont, and a close call with the ship’s wicked, one-eyed cat. Best of all love is in the air for the mice sisters and the Cranston sisters, and the promise of a palace wedding. Shaded pencil drawings throughout help readers visualize this world from a mouse’s point of view, while humor and adventure keep the pages turning in this delightful tale sure to please animal fantasy lovers.
Mlb Opposites
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Jordan, Christopher
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 04, 2014
Kline, Karen
This book of word opposites will catch the eye of most elementary baseball fans. A graphical red ball cap on each facing page with white-lettered word opposites like inside-outside, safe-out, and cold-hot is featured and the words are repeated in the single sentence descriptions on each page describing full color MLB photos. Major league players like NY Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki are featured but not named on most pages (though some names on jerseys are clear) making this a who’s who kind of seek-and-find for the knowledgeable fan. A thirteen-entry glossary defines words from the text. Educators will find this a high-interest title for a quick lesson on compare-contrast. The book will also engage plenty of reluctant readers and English language learners.
Never Fade
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Bracken, Alexandra
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 05, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Most of the children in American are dead. The survivors have a variety of psi powers and are either feared or coveted. Ruby is a member of the Children's League, which seems a better choice than a corrupt government. She has the ability to walk through minds. Sent on a mission she realizes the League is also corrupt and her team is expendable. She sets off on her own mission to retrieve valuable information. In doing so she finds a lost love and an enemy who may be the only one who can help her save the others. Survival is key in this fast-paced dystopian story, which is the second in a series. Ruby is a well-defined character dealing with her own demons as she questions whether, in using her power, she will become what she most fears. Yet using it may be the only way to save her friends. This is a much stronger book than the first one, leaving readers anxious for the next. However, language issues definitely relegate the book to the YA shelves.
Sea Slime : It's Eeuwy, Gooey And Under The Sea
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Prager, Ellen
Bersani, Shennen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 07, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a fascinating topic well-handled in the newest releases from Arbordale Publishing known for their math and science books that also have eBook counterparts on their subscription web site. After an introductory page on sea slime, the following double page spreads explain how a variety of sea creatures use this in different ways for protection, faster travel, catching food, a protective cocoon while sleeping, cleaning, and as a deterrent to others. The animals include jellyfish, snails, parrotfish, clownfish, hagfish, moray eel, squids (including a vampire squid), and corals. These books do not have a table of contents or an index, but do have four ending pages for Creative Minds in this case True/False questions that extend the original text, more detailed explanations for Why Slime?, Lifestyles of the Wet and Slimy (sea habitats), and a recipe for making fun, messy slime. This book is well researched and has further activities on the publisher’s web site. Though color illustrations rather than photos are used they are very reminiscent of Ruth Heller’s realistic style and colors making it an opulent book to share.
Animal Helpers : Aquariums
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Curtis, Jennifer Keats
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 07, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This Arbordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell) offering features color photos of aquarium workers and creatures in (6) different facilities around the US. Most of these pictures are quite striking though a few are a bit dark perhaps due to the lighting of their habitat. Interesting close-ups are shown of some animals such as the shortsnout seahorses or a contrast in size between a scuba diver and manta ray. This provides a nice introduction to aquariums, the jobs people have there and their missions. Some photos are labeled where others are not. The final pages ask the young readers questions about whether the different aspects of this job appeal to them--i.e. "Could you transport whale sharks, work in a water quality lab, or feed sea otters?" As with all Arbordale books this ends with four pages For Creative Minds including more developed text on specific aquarium jobs, a Match the Animal (with lots more information), True/False (with added information), and Animal Fun Facts. Others in this series include Wildlife Rehabilitators, Sanctuaries, Zoos, and an upcoming Raptor Centers. The Arbordale web site provides additional eBook capability and activities.
It's Raining!
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Gibbons, Gail
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 07, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is Gail Gibbons' expected style of presentation and information of another nonfiction topic--rain. The busy colorful illustrations are complemented by the fact-filled text that first introduces this type of weather and the needed water it brings. Then she describes and diagrams the water cycle before differentiating the forms of clouds--stratus, nimbostratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus, which first graders studying this will be happy to see. A map of rain amounts (6 ranges) per year around the world show the equator as having the most. Types of rain from drizzle to flash floods are included plus safety measures. This nonfiction book doesn't have a table of contents, glossary or index because the information can be pretty readily found or defined within this 32-page book. If a new book on rain for the weather section is needed, Gail Gibbons never disappoints.
Eye Of Minds
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Dashner, James
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Michael and his friends are serious gamers. It is, literally, their life. They spend most of each day in "coffins" virtually living the games they play. Naturally these games are not real. If you die in the game you just wake up to your boring life. That all changes, however, when they are recruited to track down a renegade gamer who is causing real deaths in the virtual world. It's not a game anymore--it is, quite literally, a fight for their lives. This is a high action adventure novel, which is what you'd expect from the author of "Maze Runner." The use of a virtual world as a setting gives the author free reign to use his imagination. After all, anything can happen, any danger can be faced. The ending is sure to leave readers gasping for breath and waiting for the sequel. That being said, this is not as good as "Maze Runner" and the premise gives the author way too much leeway when it comes to problems and solutions. Still, I doubt that will be seen as a problem by the intended audience.
Run Home, Little Mouse
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Teckentrup, Britta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Dark has settled over the forest. Little Mouse needs to get home, but he can't remember the way. Eyes shine in the dark--eyes of predators who eat mice. Run home, Little Mouse! This glossy, oversized board book includes cutouts that show the eyes popping out of a black background. Turn the page and you see the animal. Young children should be rooting for Little Mouse until friendly eyes appear in the dark and Little Mouse is home, safe. Simple, repetitive text accompanies bold illustrations that all play against a black background. This German import is sure to be popular here.
Story Of Passover
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Adler, David A
Weber, Jill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Kid-tested and rabbi-approved, here is the story of the Children of Israel and their escape from Egypt. Yes, it's an abbreviated version, but David Adler does a nice job in maintaining the key elements, for good storytelling. The book briefly follows the life of Moses from the basket of reeds through the parting of the Red Sea. Adler ends with the statement: "On Passover, Jewish people all over the world celebrate their freedom from slavery and their beginnings as a great nation." Of course Passover is more than that, but his end note on the seder provides further information, and includes some fascinating facts. Jill Weber's artwork carries important elements of the story, not covered in the text, adding to the book's usefulness. This is an excellent introduction to an important Jewish holiday, yet told at a level that even very young children will be able to understand.
Little Ducks Go
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Mccully, Emily Arnold
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Little ducks go. Mama duck leads. Little ducks--watch out! Little ducks fall through a grate. Mama duck seeks help. People help and the family is reunited. This is very simple, surprisingly heart-warming, story by award-winning author/illustrator Emily Arnold McCully. The text is perfect for beginning readers. The watercolor illustrations are perfect for group sharing, standing out against white backgrounds. New readers go through short books so quickly, we need lots of them. This is one that they will want to read and reread. I tied this book with "Just Ducks" and it was enjoyed by students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, despite, or perhaps because of, its very easy text.
Francis, The Little Fox
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Boisjoly, Veronique
Maurey, Katty
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Francis the fox and his dad go to the laundromat as a father-son activity, on a regular basis. Francis enjoys the routine, and the time with his Dad. He does not, however, like the pranks played the granddaughter of the laundromat's owner, Lily. Today things seem pretty normal until a cat escapes and Lily pulls a couple of pranks. Mayhem ensues. Problems are solved. Then it's home again with clean clothes and the discovery of Lily's best prank. This is a very simple slice-of-life book, originally published in French. The digital illustrations are in muted tones against an off-white background. While charming, the book lacks substance. It is not a first purchase.
Wicked Cruel
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Wallace, Rich
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Three short stories set in a small New England town, tell of three different urban legends. They range from creepy to mysterious but nothing terrifying. I especially liked the story of the "Horses of Brickyard Pond" where hoofbeats can be heard and sometimes horses can be seen that supposedly drowned in the brickyard centuries ago. The other tales include one about bullying gone wrong and the other about a haunted building.
Tesla's Attic
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Shusterman, Neal
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Co-written by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman, this is the first book in a series - likely a trilogy - called The Accelerati. Nick, his younger brother Danny, and their dad move from Florida to Colorado after their house burns down. The house they have inherited has a bunch of junk up in the attic, so Nick clears it out and holds a garage sale so he can use the attic as his bedroom. Strange things begin happening at the sale with people showing up in the pouring rain and paying too much money for their selected items. It turns out that these items were actually made by scientific genius Nicola Tesla and they have unusual powers. Nick teams up with a few neighborhood kids who go to his school to try to get all the items back before the creepy men in pearlescent suits get them first. A fun read with action, adventure, and the appeal of Tesla's eccentric genius mixed in. I didn't like it as well as Shusterman's more YA titles such as Unwind and the Everlost series, but it did remind me of his more juvenile books such as Full Tilt and The Eyes of Kid Midas and will have appeal to readers who enjoyed those.
Jedi Academy
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Brown, Jeffrey
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
In the format of "Wimpy Kid", this is the story of Roan who is selected to attend the Jedi Academy. While initially devastated over a rejection from the Pilot Academy where he would learn to be a Starfighter like his dad and older brother, Roan is happy to accept an offer from the Jedi Academy rather than having to go to the Tatooine Agricultural School. Roan has joined the academy later than other students, so he has some catching up to do. He endures bullies, makes friends, and faces many new challenges. A fun read. Star Wars fans will enjoy this a lot. A good read for struggling/reluctant readers, not just because of format and humorous content - but also because Roan often crosses out words he spelled incorrectly and then writes in the correct spelling.
Call Of The Klondike : A True Gold Rush Adventure
Calkins Creek [Calkins Creek]
Meissner, David
Richardson, Kim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
A true story of two men who went searching for gold during the Alaskan gold rush. Lots of primary sources such as diary entries, letters, and photographs add much to this account. It was an interesting read but not as much action/adventure as I expected. However, it was very interesting to read about what they wore and the supplies they took along as well as how much things cost. No book can quite relate how truly arduous things were though. A good addition to your collection, especially if your curriculum includes this time period.
Running Scared
RED DEER PRESS [RED DEER PRESS]
Terrell-Deutsch, Bev
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 08, 2014
Dame, Anne
Gregory is really good at math. It often distracts him from school work, which his teachers do not appreciate, but it also distracts him from his dad's recent death in a car accident in front of the local Jiffy Mart. Gregory now goes far out of his way to avoid the Jiffy Mart. However, a threatened school closure will put the bus stop for the new school right there. Gregory and his friends try both to save his school and to find a way to break down his avoidance of the site of the accident. The characters and plot are flat and predictable.
Susan Marcus Bends The Rules
HOLIDAY HOUSE [HOLIDAY HOUSE]
Cutler, Jane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sometimes acts of civil disobedience are large, but more often they are small things that may lead to change. It's 1943 and ten-year-old Susan Marcus and her family have moved from New York City to small town Missouri. Lots of things are different. Susan is particularly bothered by the Jim Crow laws in her new town, and the prejudice she sees against various ethnic groups. She makes friends with a Negro girl. (This is a first-person narrative and the term is historically accurate but you may get some who object.) Then she decides to bend an unspoken rule by sitting with her new friend on the bus. This is a gentle, well-written slice-of-life story. The author's use of sensory images is wonderful--you can smell the chlorine in the pool, and feel the sweat in the humid summer air. Short enough for a quick read-aloud, this chapter book would be a good way to introduce children to a different era, and to explain why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary.
Rooting For You!
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Hood, Susan
Cordell, Matthew
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 08, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"You can do it!" "We're rooting for you!" A little seed gets a lot of encouragement from various underground critters, and the specific guidance of an earthworm, as it conquers its fears to send out that first root, and then shoot for the sky to bloom. Simple text consisting entirely of dialogue allows for character development. Bold, child-friendly illustrations show that, despite his belief, the seed is never truly alone. This book works on so many levels. Primary teachers will want it when doing plant units, but it also serves as a nice allegory. The only problem for library circulation are the multiple fold out pages--some this way and some that. We all know what happens to those after only a few uses. (Sigh.) Nevertheless, this is well worth purchasing.
NAVIGATING EARLY
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
VANDERPOOL, CLARE
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 09, 2014
Shirts, Brooke
At the tail end of World War II, Jack Baker is uprooted from his Kansas home following the death of his mother, and placed in a boys' boarding school in Maine by his naval officer father. Jack has hardly seen his father during the war years, and feels alone and adrift. It's natural, therefore, that he befriends another loner in the school, the eccentric Early Auden. Early has both brilliant math skills and many quirks that would label him today as "autistic," although the word never appears in the novel. Together, the unlikely friends sneak away on adventure during spring break -- to travel by boat and foot along the Appalachian Trail in search of a famed giant bear. Both Jack and Early, whose brother is MIA in the war, have suffered huge losses and are struggling to set a course towards peace and resolution as well as towards adulthood. Jack's voice is spoken from the perspective of an adult looking back on childhood; themes of navigation and pathfinding work to unveil a beautiful coming of age story. While the boys' journey is packed with adventure -- along with the bear, they are beset by outlaw hooligans -- the tone of the novel is quiet and introspective, the language appropriate for older elementary aged kids or young teens.
DISCOVERING WES MOORE
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
MOORE, WES
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 09, 2014
Knight, Jennifer
Wes Moore's autobiographical adaptation for reluctant or low reading teens of his bestselling book for adults "The Other Wes Moore" is an inspirational tale of one man's ability to overcome his mistakes as a young teenager. The book chronicles Moore's childhood and teen years and compares his choices with "the other Wes Moore". After the death of his father while Moore was a child, he grew up in rough neighborhoods in New York and Baltimore with a caring mother who made education a priority. When, he, in spite of his family's best efforts started getting into trouble, his family shipped him to military boarding school, where Moore turned his life around, eventually enlisting in the military and continuing onto college. Later in life, he hears of another Wes Moore, also from Baltimore, also about the same age, whose life took a very different path (he is incarcerated on a murder charge for life for killing a cop), Moore contacted him. Their correspondence inspired Moore's first book. This book is likely to have a wide appeal for reluctant readers, particularly those in an urban setting, as well as teens who are looking for inspiration.
Little Red Lies
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Johnston, Julie
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 09, 2014
Knight, Jennifer
After her brother comes home from WWII, Rachel expects that everything will "go back to normal" in her family's life. He'll marry his high school sweetheart, she'll get the lead in the school play, people will accept that she's now grown up (isn't she wearing her Little Red Lies lipstick?) and life will be grand. Unfortunately, when her brother comes home, he not only has trouble adjusting, but is mysteriously ill. Rachel's aspirations of being the star of the show are also put into question, particularly when her drama teacher begins showing too much interest in her and other girls in the cast. And that's just the beginning of the trouble for she and her family. Rachel's tale is interwoven with her brother's unsent letters from the war. Although the concept of the book is interesting, there are so many plot lines that the result lacks the zing it might have had with more attention to characterization. The letters interspersed with the story actually detract from the momentum of the book, weighing down an already heavy story to a monotonous pace. With so much other great historical fiction out there for teens, this one might be one to skip.
Eighth Menorah
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Wohl, Lauren L
Hughes, Laura
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
At Hebrew school Sam is learning about the upcoming Hanukkah holiday. He has also created a menorah, to give as a gift to his parents. Readers learn about the holiday as Sam and his family prepare. Sam has a problem, however. His family already has many menorahs, each of which has a special significance. Where does his menorah fit in? He finds the perfect solution to his problem, and captures the spirit of the holiday at the same time. Bright illustrations by Laura Hughes show a warm extended family. My one quibble is that the illustrations of the boy's menorrah never really show the special stone that is mentioned several times in the text and, because of its mention in the text, children will be looking for it. The story includes instructions on how to play dreidel. This is a nice choice to add to multicultural collections.
Mr. Mouse's Motel : Helping Others
RED CHAIR PRESS [RED CHAIR PRESS]
Dinardo, Jeff
Lubach, Peter
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Many animals have come to stay at Mr. Mouse's Motel. He's glad to welcome them, but in meeting all their varied needs his energy is soon completely exhausted. Fortunately his guests pitch in to take care of Mr. Mouse. This is a simple, energetic story with a touch of humor. The watercolor and ink illustrations have funny details that will appeal to the target audience, and the underlying message of helping others is always a good one to reinforce.
BEHIND THE BOOKCASE
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
STEENSLAND, MARK
MURPHY, KELLY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Sarah and her family are living in Grandma's house while they prepare it for sale. When Sarah discovers a secret room with a passage to a magical kingdom, she overcomes her natural timidity to explore this strange new land. Unfortunately, she brings a denizen of that magical place back with her, not knowing he is not at all as harmless as he seems. Now her world is in danger, her brother is enchanted, and she must try to set things right by using other secret passageways, making new magically-cursed friends, and tricking the "king of the cats." This is an imaginative fantasy romp with all kinds of strange creatures, unusual friendships, and a main character who will inspire readers to root for her. While the ending seems a bit facile, it is still satisfying.
Fly
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Gravel, Elise
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Hi, I'm a fly! This is a casual introduction to the fly with humorous cartoonish digital illustrations, lots of funny asides, and some basic facts about the annoying insect. Bold graphics pop against a beige-green background, and children will giggle at much of what is written here. Still, it contains valid information in a kid-friendly format and CIP places it in the nonfiction section. Part of the "Disgusting Critters" series, this is a friendly approach to informative reading, but the stitching is poor and the binding will not stand up to repeated use.
Tippy And The Night Parade
TOON BOOKS [TOON BOOKS]
Carre, Lilli
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
What is going on with Tippy? She may go to bed with her room clean, but when she wakes up it's a mess--filled with animals and bits of nature. Her mother is not pleased, but all Tippy remembers is going to sleep. Still, she postulates, she might have been sleepwalking outside, gathering various critters along the way. That would certainly explain the mess. In this easy graphic novel--a "Toon Book"-- young readers get to follow Tippy's fanciful nighttime jaunt, in shades of night blue, with white accents. There is much here to enchant the eye and delight the imagination. Is it silly? Yes of course, and that's its appeal.
End (Almost)
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Benton, Jim
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
IN yet another book that breaks down the 4th wall, a bear named Donut is displeased at the length of his story and begins an argument with the author who tells him the story is over. Despite returning in disguise, and trying to sneak in, Donut's cause seems lost. Finally the author tosses him a nonsensical bone, then runs out of pages so the story is truly over...unless you read it again. Great silliness abounds here with simple bright illustrations and equally simple text. This sort of thing has been done before, of course, and better. Still, this type of humor is right on the nose for young children who find it infinitely funny. As such, though slight, this book will fly off the shelves.
Hot Rod Hamster : Monster Truck Mania!
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lord, Cynthia
Anderson, Derek
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Hot Rod Hamster is back and this time he and his friends are at the fair. The rides are enjoyable, but our heroic hamster is looking for something that would be fun, fast, let him drive, and send him up in the air. Such a ride doesn't seem to exist until he steps in as an emergency driver in the monster truck show. Vibrant colors, fun dialogue, a cumulative element, and rhyming narration that encourages the reader to choose from the options on the page all encourage involvement and enhance the kid-friendliness of the book. This is sure to be a popular choice, especially among young boys.
Learn To Draw Forest Animals & Wildlife : Step-By-Step Instr
Walter Foster/lerner Publications C [Walter Foster/lerner Publications C]
Phan, Sandy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
All ages
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Drawing books are always popular and this will be no exception. Here are the six-step instructions for drawing 20 wild forest animals from grizzly bear to mute swan. Each animal's instructions include a few brief facts about the animal and then illustrates the steps in drawing it, from basic shapes, to refinements, to final details. Young artists will have to look carefully to see the changes in each step, but if they follow along they should produce a reasonable final product, given a little time. Drawing books are always popular and this will be no exception, however the glossy paper over board cover will not stand up to heavy use.
My Humongous Hamster
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Freytag, Lorna
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Lorna Freytag plays with photographs in this whimsical peek into what would happen if a hamster's humongous appetite resulted in humongous growth. Simple sentences accompany bright photographs of a hamster eating trees like broccoli, using a Ferris wheel like an exercise wheel, and catching criminals. Still, he would probably miss his normal life and shrink back...until his appetite is once again humongous. The concept is cute and the execution will set small children giggling. The pictures are absolutely adorable. I would pair this with "A Fish out of Water" and "How Big is It?" for a storytime on size.
What If You Had Animal Hair!?
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Markle, Sandra
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Now here's an interesting concept. There are many types of animal hair out there, distinct to the animal's needs. What if humans had the same type of hair as animals? This book explores eleven different animals from polar bears to sloths to pangolins, providing information about their hair (or scales), along with a photograph and quick fact. The facing page shows a fun illustrations of a person with that type of hair, and a comment on what it might mean. The book is interesting, nicely formatted, and informative. It even includes basic information about how human hair grows, and about hair care. Is it a great resource for research? Probably not, but it is a fun browsing book, and would make a good jumping off point for other types of animal research.
Cask Of Amontillado
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Dunn, Joeming
Espinosa, Rod
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The "Graphic Horror" series takes classic horror stories, abridges them, then puts them in a graphic novel format. In this case we're dealing with the classic tale of revenge--"The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe. Montresor was insulted by Fortunado in ancient Italy. Believing revenge is a dish best served cold, Montresor cultivated Fortunado's friendship over time, then lured him deep underground past the wine cellars with the promise of a cask of Amontillado wine. Montresor chained the drunk Fortunado to a wall then, brick-by-brick sealed him in to die a slow and painful death. The illustrations are crisp and dark, suiting the tale well. Much of the undertone of the story is lost, but the basics are here and it is creepy enough to please young horror fans.
Say Hello Like This!
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Murphy, Mary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In this bright, bouncy and, yes, sparkly book youngsters are introduced to the ways different animals say "hello." After introducing the animal's method of greeting, readers flip a half page to get an example. There're plenty of opportunities for joining in on the sounds, making this a good choice for preschool story times.The text is simple, and the big, bold illustrations are perfect for group sharing. Of course everyone will know the final greeting, since it's the one that people use. Cute and very kid-friendly, this book promotes audience involvement, which is always fun.
Baby's Got The Blues
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Shields, Carol Diggory
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 09, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Baby's got the blues--the low-down blues. The soggy diaper, mushy diet ba-a-a-by blues. Can't talk, can't walk, paying his baby dues. Yessir, baby's got the ba-a-by blues. This is a fun, rhythmic look at baby frustrations and joys. The writing is clever and begs to be read aloud. (But practice it first.) The pen and ink illustrations, arranged digitally with a bright collage feel, are filled with patterns and action. And, while baby has the baby blues, he can be shaken out of them with hugs and kisses. This is a fun book that younger children will especially understand.
Alaska's Dog Heroes : True Stories Of Remarkable Canines
Little Bigfoot [Little Bigfoot]
Gill, Shelley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Dogs are an integral part of life in much of Alaska, and there are many stories about exceptional canines who merit a place in the state's history. This book introduces readers to 19 of these dogs, some alone and some combined with each other because of a shared history. While many were sled dogs, also honored are dogs who saved lives, welcomed visitors, and protect the environment. A beautiful color illustration faces a page of information, briefly introducing the dogs and the accomplishments for which they are known. The writing is crisp and interesting. This is sure to be a hit with dog lovers.
Little Prince : 13 : The Planet Of Tear-Eaters
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Dubos, Delphine
Fayolle, Diane
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Based loosely on Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince," this graphic novel series expands the story of the Little Prince as he visits various planets, with Fox, saving them from the evil Snake who seeks their destruction. In this 13th volume in the series the Little Prince finds himself on a planet that depends on stories to save the populace from a daily fire rain. When these stories are endangered so are the people. What could be causing the problem? Snake has been whispering in the ear of a local man, with terrible results. Naturally our heroes work cooperatively to solve the problem and save the planet. The artwork in this series is first-rate--crisp and imaginative. The stories are actually quite simple, when you boil them down to their essence. Unfortunately they don't always flow well, and there is never any doubt as to the outcome. I have several of these books in my library and they are not as popular as other graphic novels.
Tib & Tumtum : 2 : My Amazing Dinosaur
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Grimaldi
Bannister
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Tib is a caveboy with a port-wine stain around his left eye. That means the other cave-kids tease him and won't play with him. Well, that and the fact that his best friend is a dinosaur. Yes, yes, dinosaurs and humans never coexisted, but Tumtum is unique. In this, the second book in the graphic novel series, Tib is still dealing with bothersome peers, annoying girls, and an exuberant pet. Then there's his mother, who worries that the dinosaur is dangerous. Dangerous? No. Bouncy, enthusiastic, and slurpy...yes. The artwork is a delight - expressive, bright, and filled with wonderful detail. The dialogue is a hoot as well. The author manages to capture perfectly that eye-rolling situations that kids have with parents who just don't "get" the problems they are facing. This is another winner in a fabulous new graphic novel series.
Snow Dog, Sand Dog
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Singleton, Linda Joy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Ally longs for a dog, but she's allergic. What can she do? She builds a snow dog. "There's no such thing as a snow dog," the other children say. Ally, however, proves them wrong. When spring comes the snow dog melts, but Ally builds a dog of flowers. When the flowers wither in summer heat she builds a sand dog at the beach. When fall winds blow the sand away she makes a dog of leaves. Wait...is that winter coming again? This is a fun, imaginative book with a nice pattern that primary teachers will appreciate when teaching prediction or seasons. Jess Golden's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations joyously romp across the pages. This would be a nice addition to library collections.
Bunny In The Ballet
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Beck, Robert
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Desiree Rabbit has a dream--she wants to be a ballerina. She is undaunted by the fact that there are no bunnies in the ballet. A helpful teacher spots her potential and she is soon taking classes and even gets a simple role in "The Nutcracker." There, an unexpected opportunity arises for her to shine. Yes, there are any number of books out there about different unlikely animals wanting to be ballerinas. It is a common theme, with that underlying moral of never letting anything stand in the way of your dreams. Still, this is a delightful book, told in the first person in a breezy style. Perhaps the best feature of the book, however, are the delightful pastel watercolor and ink illustrations filled with flowing lines and swishes of color, giving a constant feeling of controlled motion. Young girls are sure to dance out of the library, holding this book tight.
Robot Burp Head Smartypants
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Simon, Annette
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 10, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Two robots are enjoying some motor oil, but that soon leads to a stint of competitive burping that escalates into seeing just how much you say while in the middle of a burp. Letters, numbers, Old MacDonald--all within the framework of bu--rp. The winner of the burp contest, however, is unexpected. Big, blocky colorful robots stand out against a white background, in the digital illustrations . This is a slight book, yes, but it is awash with silliness and if you're a good burper this would make the kind of story time that the little ones would be talking about for years.
Ful And -Less, -Er And -Ness : What Is A Suffix?
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Cleary, Brian P
Goneau, Martin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In typical zany yet informative style, Brian Cleary and Martin Goneau are back with their "Words are CATegorical" series, in this case concentrating on suffixes. Bouncy, rhyming text is accompanied by colorful cat cartoon illustrations as the author explains not only what a suffix is, but what many of the more traditional suffixes mean, when added to a word. A final table is something teachers will want to post in their classrooms. This is a fun romp that is sure to be welcomed by educators introducing this important concept.
How I Do My Homework
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Boothroyd, Jennifer
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Everyone tells you to do your homework, but who explains just how to get it done? This book walks young students through the steps of successful homework completion. Crisp photographs accompany simple text showing a student arriving home, checking his backpack, reading his planner, finding an appropriate quiet spot, getting out supplies, then completing his assignments. There's nothing exciting here, but it is nice to see the entire process laid out sequentially. Teachers will find this to be a valuable tool when discussing study skills and classroom expectations with their primary-aged students.
Lulu : My Glamorous Life
Branches [Branches]
May, Kyla
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This "Lotus Lane" book focuses on likeable Lulu. Writing in her diary, Lulu tells readers about a totally cool chance she has to enter a contest by dressing as her favorite movie star, Penelope Glitter. Of course she involves her BFFs through text messages and sleepovers. Unfortunately, a girl she considers to be a bully is also in the competition. Who will win? (OK, the author kind of cops out on this one.) This is a breezy, girl-friendly book with plenty of illustrations, lists, and high high high highs and low low low lows about friendship. In the four "Lotus Lane" books that are out,l each focuses on a different character. While not extraordinary literature, this series is still sure to be an absolute hit with elementary school girls.
Days Of The Knights
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Neubecker, Robert
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Two children go back in time to the Middle Ages where a red dragon shows them around. They learn about some of the basics of the era--economy, daily life, cathedrals. Then they vanquish the evil Sir Vile, setting the peasants free. A feast ends their adventure, before they come back to our time to write a report. Colorful illustrations accompany the text that teaches something about the time period. CIP places it in "E," I imagine for the entire dragon concept. This is a Level 2 reader, and is not exceptional, but it does convey some nonfiction information along with the story.
Ugly Cute Animals
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Berger, Melvin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Some animals are ugly. Some are cute. Some are so ugly they're cute--at least that's the premise of this Level 2 Reader by nonfiction experts Melvin and Gilda Berger. Bright photographs accompany two-page spreads about each animal. Young readers learn just a bit about bulldogs, Sphynx cats, fennic foxes, red-eyed tree frogs, sloths, emus, llamas, orangutans, axoltols, okapis, elephant shrews, dugongs, meerkats, and hedgehogs. (Although I've never met anyone who thought a hedgehog was anything but cute as a button.) The 32-page paperback book includes occasional fun facts, and a glossary. This is a nonfiction book designed for casual browsing rather than report-writing, and its eye-catching photographs and clever concept will be a draw for young readers.
Secrets Of The Sky Caves : Danger And Discovery On Nepal's M
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Athans, Sandra K
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 11, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In 2007 a team began exploring long-abandoned caves--some at ground level, and some high up in the cliffs--in the Mustang region of Nepal. The discoveries there, from mummies to manuscripts, are still being examined and are considered to be a significant archaeological find. This is a beautiful and fascinating look into the series of expeditions that took place from 2007-2013, led by mountaineer Pete Athans (better known for his multiple conquests of Mt. Everest). The teams over the years changed, as different scientists or specialists were required. Interestingly, most of the expeditions included two children, belonging to Athans and his wife, Liesl. This book not only draws the reader into the expeditions but gives a unique view of the history, culture, religions, and geography of a little-known, and little-traveled region of the world. Wonderfully captioned photographs, maps, and an extensive appendix add to the package. All secondary schools will want this winner in their collections. I have no doubt that it will end up on numerous award lists, and deservedly so.
Monkey Me And The Golden Monkey
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Roland, Timothy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Oh no! Clyde has just eaten an irradiated banana. Now, whenever he gets excited (which is often) he turns into a monkey! His twin sister Claudia tries to cover for him, but it's hard to keep up with a brother who is literally climbing the walls. And what happens when he turns into a monkey at school, or at the museum? The museum is where it all started, and where Clyde ran into a thief and accidentally ended up with a priceless treasure in his pocket. Now the thief wants it back, and Clyde's life at school has gotten monkified as he tries to save himself and the treasure. This is a fast paced, kid-friendly book. While the story is mostly carried in text, anytime Clyde turns into a monkey the book changes to a graphic novel until he changes back. The reading level is just right for easy chapter book readers, and the subject matter is sure to appeal.
Stage Fright
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Lubar, David
Loveridge, Matt
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Ever since Ed found the magic coin life has been loony. Strange things happen to him, and he has to be careful what he says because the magic seems to take it literally. "Time flies" results in his watch taking flight, for example. Now he and his friends have inadvertently entered a play writing contest. He doesn't dare win because his looniness seems tied to the moon and the night of the performance is also the night of a blue moon. Accordingly, he makes sure the play is so absurd it couldn't possibly win...or could it? Now performance time is coming and this is sure to be a play nobody will forget. Wacky humor, likeable characters, and plenty of black and white illustrations make this a fun easy chapter book that should appeal to reluctant readers.This is book #4 in the "Looniverse" series.
Monkey Me And The Pet Show
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Roland, Timothy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When Clyde ate an irradiated banana (in book #1 of the series) he discovered that excitement would turn him into a monkey. His sister Claudia tries to cover for him, but it's hard to keep up with a brother who is literally climbing the walls. In this, book #2 of the series, Clyde decides to strike back at a local bully by entering a pet show and beating out the bully's dog. Naturally he will be entering as his monkey self. Unfortunately there are animal-nappers on the prowl, stealing contestants and planning on selling them. When Clyde ends up in a cage he manages to save himself, but what should he do about the other animals? This is a fast paced, silly, kid-friendly book. While the story is mostly carried in text, anytime Clyde turns into a monkey the book changes to a graphic novel until he becomes human again. The reading level is just right for easy chapter book readers, and the subject matter is sure to appeal.
Jake And The Never Land Pirates : Surfin' Turf
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY PRESS]
Larose, Melinda
Character Building Studio
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This level 1 reader is part of the Disney "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" series. While a mermaid is teaching the children how to surf, Hook and Smee disguise themselves to steal the surfboard. The kids follow the thieves and soon everyone ends up in the Rainbow River. The kids win and Hook loses. The illustrations are bright and kid-friendly. The story is mediocre, but does provide reading practice for the intended audience. Most pages also include a comprehension question, clearly aiming the book at Common Core audiences. Don't bother. There's better stuff out there.
Tao, The Little Samurai : 1 : Pranks And Attacks!
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Richard, Laurent
Ryser, Nicolas
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Tao is going to Samurai school, but this mischievous prankster is having trouble focusing, largely due to own lack of self-control and leading to humorous results. This is not really a graphic novel, so much as a collection of one or two page cartoons, each beginning with a moral such as "He who climbs too fast falls flat on his face" and then showing how that statement applies to Tao. Colorful, well-defined artwork shows short plump children, and our hero with his long queue (that occasionally adds to his troubles). A sensitive grandmaster, and long-suffering teachers, round out the premise. This is a fun concept that is sure to find a happy readership.
Chicagoland Detective Agency : 6 : A Midterm Night's Schem
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Robbins, Trina
Page, Tyler
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
7th grade to 9th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In the sixth book of the "Chicagoland Detective Agency, our heroes have to deal with a witch. Our heroes are, of course, Raf (who owns a pet supply store), Megan (a thirteen-year-old girl who likes to speak in haiku), and Bradley (a talking dog). The witch's potions were stolen from her locker at school, and she wants them back. Unfortunately she also falls hard for Megan, and works up a love potion to make sure her feelings are reciprocated. The spell backfires and Megan falls in love with Bradley, but that doesn't stop the team for figuring out that other students stole the potions to use in the school's science fair. Of course magic potions and a science fair are a bad bad mix. This is another humorous slightly off-kilter graphic novel adventure with sharp black and white illustrations and zany dialogue, aimed at a middle school crowd. Fans of the series will enjoy it.
Jessica Finch In Pig Trouble
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Mcdonald, Megan
Madrid, Erwin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Jessica Finch adores pigs. All she wants for her birthday is a little pot-bellied pig. However, when she and her friend Judy Moody search out her birthday presents, Jessica is sorely disappointed. She was hoping to find no presents all, proving her parents were getting her something better...like a pet. Instead she found pig-themed items, and now Judy Moody is acting strange. Feeling that she has been shunned, Jessica uninvites Judy to her birthday party, not knowing that there's a very good reason her friend is being so secretive. This is part of the "Judy Moody and Friends" series--very short chapter books with lots of color illustrations. Clearly they are designed to transition readers from picture to chapter books. While not extraordinary literature, this does clearly meet a need for those readers seeking something harder, but not too hard.
Chomp Of The Meat-Eating Vegetables
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Cummings, Troy
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is book #4 in "The Notebook of Doom" series. Alexander and his friends live in a town that has a monster problem. Unfortunately, most of the grown-ups can't see the monsters, so the kids end up having to resolve monster issues on their own. In this volume weird things are going on at school. The heating system is kaput and the school is freezing. The cafeteria is actually serving fun stuff--ice cream and pie instead of chef's surprise. Alex check's his monster notebook for clues as to what type of monster might be at fault for the weirdness. Little does he realize that it's all due to mutant vegetables that are fattening the kids up for a little quid pro quo. This is another funny, slightly scary adventure with amusing black and white digital illustrations, in a series that will doubtless attract reluctant readers.
Where In The World
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Brown, Laaren
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 12, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Clearly aimed at the Common Core crowd this level 3 reader takes youngsters around the world to learn just a little bit about famous landmarks. In the Americas we visit the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam, and Machu Pichu. In Europe the Colosseum, Tower of London, and Eiffel Tower are highlighted. Also included are the pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Sydney Opera House. Each is given a two-page spread with a photograph, a map showing location, basic information and additional items such as timelines, diagrams, and new words. 6 other landmarks each receive a brief paragraph. Part of the "Discover More Readers" series, readers are directed to digital resources that provide more information and extension activities. There's not enough here for report-writing, but this is an interesting browsing book.
Boa's Bad Birthday
ANDERSEN PRESS USA [ANDERSEN PRESS USA]
Willis, Jeanne
Ross, Tony
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 13, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a fun story about not getting the right gifts. Boa is polite, but disappointed in all of the gifts he receives for his birthday. His mother reminds him that it’s the thought that counts, but this doesn’t keep a tear away. All of the jungle animals he invites bring something he can’t use –piano (no fingers), sunglasses (no ears or nose), mittens (no hands), hairbrush (no hair), and soccer ball (no feet). He guesses correctly that Dung Beetle will bring a ball of dung, but unexpectedly it has a seed inside that when it rains grows into the perfect black and white tree, just what he has always wanted. The moral of the story is laid out for all readers in the last lines, “So if you ever get a present that stinks, say thank you. Because it might turn out to be…the best present ever!” The term “dung” will have to be explained to young readers, and if that it not off-putting this should be a hit for the adult reader and child alike. Tony Ross’s pen, ink and water color illustrations captivate and capture the suspense as always. Recommended for Pre-2.
Cat With Seven Names
CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING [CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING]
Johnston, Tony
Davenier, Christine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 13, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The story actually begins on the front endsheets and concludes on the final ones. This is the story of a neighborhood where a very round cat pays regular visits to six different homes. Every four pages a new point of view is introduced starting with a female librarian who doesn’t get many visitors and dubs him Stuart Little. A widower in a walker whose family is gone welcomes him with catfish and calls him Kitty-boy. This goes on with a Mexican man with a perro who welcomes him each day, a policeman, a homeless war vet, and mother and daughter new to this neighborhood. At the end a near accident unites the neighbors in their shared concern for this friendly, well-fed creature. The water color illustrations extend the text, but are not the key ingredient as they don’t stand out. This story works well for point of view, neighborhoods, change, listening for and counting the names of this likable cat. It's reminiscent of Six-Dinner Sid.
Polar Bears And Penguins : A Compare And Contrast Book
Arbordale Publishing [Arbordale Publishing]
Hall, Katharine
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 13, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Subtitled A Compare and Contrast Book this Arbordale (formerly Sylvan Dell) offering combines simple, straight forward text with very good, sharp, clear photos of polar bears and penguins. Habitats are compared through their different hemispheres with small global maps for visuals, and penguins live on one continent whereas polar bears live in the Arctic, which is a region of an ocean touching several continents. Other differences include fur and feathers and large colonies versus a small group. As with all Arbordale books, that are also eBooks online, this one ends with four pages for creative minds touching on seasons, polar mammals, a year at the poles month by month, polar bear true or false and penguin matching. These final pages reinforce the body of the book and extend that learning with additional information. Students could do a Venn diagram upon hearing this book read aloud.
Missing Chancleta And Other Top-Secret Cases = La Chancleta
PINATA BOOKS [PINATA BOOKS]
Vicente, Alidis
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Flaca may only be in the 2nd grade, but this feisty Latina girl is already a detective. This book contains 3 of her cases, and if you turn the book around you can read the same cases in Spanish! That's not to say that there aren't plenty of Spanish words in the English version (each nicely integrated so you know what it means.) In her first case she is trying to track down her missing chancleta (flip-flop). In the second she has a problem with a china (orange)--is someone trying to kill her, knowing of her allergy? The third case is about salsa--the dance, not the condiment. Asked to dance salsa at her sister's quinceanera Flaca is not excited and appears to lack the natural rhythm the dance requires. Can she find her lost salsa? Each of the mysteries is fun and tongue-in-cheek exaggerated. Watching Flaca use her finely-honed skills is a delight. The character, however, seems much older than a second-grader. I'd consider her a 4th-grader at the very youngest. Still, readers will enjoy her over-the-top detecting, and appreciate multicultural aspects of the story.
Stinky Bugs
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Emerson, Joan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
There are lots of stinky bugs out there and this book gives a two-page spread to 13 of them from stink bugs to formicine ants. (And includes a page on slugs.) A paragraph of interesting information is laid over a huge color photograph of the focus insect. The writing is fresh and interesting--informative but not didactic. This level 2 reader will be a great browsing book for easy nonfiction collections.
Alice From Dallas
ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Sadler, Marilyn
Hoyt, Ard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Alice from Dallas (Pennsylvania) is cowgirl through and through. She's built her reputation at school on riding her stick horse, wearing her cowgirl duds, and knowing her cowgirl stuff. Then a new girl moves in. Lexis is from Texas, and she really knows her cowgirl stuff, too. In fact, the girls are soon in a contest to out-cowgirl each other. This cannot end well, and it doesn't. Alice decides to reach out to her rival and they figure there's room enough for two cowgirls at the school--one from Dallas, Pennsylvania, and the other from Texas, Indiana. This is a romp of a book about friendships and rivalries that children will enjoy, and that teaches a nice lesson about not just getting those dogies along, but getting along in general. The soft, energetic watercolor and ink illustrations suit the text well and help make this an enjoyable book.
Winter Is For Snow
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Neubecker, Robert
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Outside flakes fall. Inside, a boy rejoices while his sister grumps. Winter is for snow and sledding and fun! No, in her opinion winter is cold and damp, and a good excuse to stay indoors. Her brother persists, however and, in their rhyming exchange, his sister begins to be persuaded. Neubecker's delightful, snow-filled illustrations cover the oversized pages with snowy activities and fun. The brother's arguments for the joy of snow are illustrated in enticing and amusing fashion. This would be a just-right choice for winter story times. (I must admit, however, that I've never met a child who would turn her nose up at a snowy day!) Still, teachers will enjoy this introduction to a winter staple, and can use it as a jumping off point for students to write the pros and cons of other situations.
Dare The Wind : The Record-Breaking Voyage Of Eleanor Prenti
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR)]
Fern, Tracey
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
In a time when having women on board a ship was considered bad luck, Eleanor Prentiss Creasy dared the wind. She applied navigation skills, learned from her father, when she married a sea captain. These skills proved invaluable when her husband's ship, the Flying Cloud, set a record in bringing passengers and cargo from New York to San Francisco during the gold rush. Tracey Fern tells the story well, as she draws readers into a world ruled by wind and waves and weather--a world usually denied women of the time. Add to the compelling text amazing watercolor illustrations by Caldecott winner Emily Arnold McCully and you have a beautiful and evocative piece of nonfiction that merits a place in any library.
Arriba, Abajo Y Alrededor
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Ayres, Katherine
Westcott, Nadine Bernard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 13, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
"Up Down Around" by Katherine Ayres first came out in 2008. Now here it is in Spanish, and it continues to be a delight. A family is planting a garden. Some vegetables grow up, some grow down, and things happen all around. Brightly colored, joyous illustrations by Nadine Bernard Westcott accompany the simple rhythmic, occasionally rhyming text that has plenty of repetition. There's much here to capture the heart, and plenty of curriculum applications as well--prepositions, plants, gardening. This is a book that will find a ready audience, and a multitude of uses in any elementary library.
Crook That Made Kids Cry
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Brezenoff, Steve
Calo, Marcos
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Field Trip Mysteries" series, this loosely-stitched 80 page book pairs sixth-graders with kindergarten buddies for a trip to the Children's Museum. Unfortunately something is wrong there. Someone seems to be sabotaging the exhibits. Who could it be--the bully and his younger brother? The evil mall-owner who wants the space for expansion? There are many possibilities. Samantha and her young partner Sam are on the trial, however. Unfortunately, the writing is like the binding--loosely stitched together. Occasional color illustrations don't help. The characters are poorly developed, and the ending is a surprise only because it really doesn't make a lot of sense, despite a careful explanation of why it does. Look, if you have to explain the ending you didn't set up the premise very well. If you need more easy mysteries better ones exist.
Mystery Stories : Writing Stories
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Ganeri, Anita
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The "Writing Stories" series consists of sturdy, 32-page books that focus on writing different genres. This one is about writing mystery stories. First the topic is defined, then readers are encouraged to jot down ideas from a variety of sources. Establishing the plot, with a beginning, middle, and end, is the next step. Characters, setting, dialogue, and the use of good adjectives, adverbs and verbs are emphasized. Mind-mapping is recommended and illustrated. Finding a good ending and other writing tips are included. Along the way a sample story shows all the highlighted advice in action. Color photographs accompany the text. Writing teachers will appreciate this clear and cogent introduction to the concept, and it would be a good way to encourage young writers by providing them with the basics of good story writing.
Giraffe
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Hanson, Anders
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 14, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Sea Turtle by same author, same reviewer, and in same series--SandCastle's Giant Animals for transitional readers. This title has the exact same format and a few of the same quibbles as the previous book though it is clear why a giraffe is included in the Giant Animals series being the tallest land animal. The 6-foot soccer player is placed next to the giraffe, making it a more clear comparison, though why it's a soccer player is not clear. The color photos capture the magnificence of this mammal even in this small book of 24 pages. The text is very straight forward with subject-verb style throughout which is appropriate for the intended reader though page 18 may have a subject-verb agreement issue. Words selected for the glossary include some interesting choices--cartilage, knob, mammal, separated, tongue and twig. This book could suffice if a primary reader is looking for very basic information on giraffes.
ON THE RUN
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
BOURREAU, CLARA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Anthony's father is a photojournalist, away on assignments. That's why Anthony hasn't seen him for two years...right? The truth is that his father followed in the footsteps of Anthony's grandfather to become a bank robber and, after numerous prison escapes, is awaiting trial. When Anthony discovers the truth it changes his world. Of course the truth would have come out anyway. The trial is a media circus and his family comes in for their share of it. When his father escapes custody again, Anthony is determined to join him and for a time lives on the run with his dad. But is this how he wants to live? This is a book originally published in France in 2009 and now translated into English. It gives interesting insights into how a parent's indiscretions can impact everyone else in the family, and whether being "on the run" is really freedom or just another form of captivity.
Too Busy
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Ruzzier, Sergio
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Bear and Bee are unusual friends with strikingly different likes and dislikes. Bear is more of a free spirit, while Bee is caught up in getting things done. Without his friend, much of Bear's fun isn't that fun anymore. Can they find an activity they can share together? The pen and ink illustrations, filled in digitally with bright, eye-catching colors, are big enough for group sharing. The concept is good. However, the story is bland despite Bear's many antics, and the ending leaves readers wishing for something more.
Harley-Davidson
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of the "Xtreme Motorcycles" series, this nicely-bound 32-page book is awash with information and action photographs of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Readers learn where the Harley-Davidson brand began, and what distinguished it from other motorcycles. Specific information is given about the motorcycles' V-Twin engines. The style and attitude behind Harley-Davidsons is emphasized. Parts of this type of motorcycle are examined and explained in detail, and different models (along with their uses) are shown. While the information is brief, it is interesting and gives young readers a good introduction to the subject matter. The format, and breezy writing style will draw in readers, especially the high-interest, low vocabulary crowd. The book includes a glossary and index. It's sure to rev up interest in the subject.
Miniature Farm Animals
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 14, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
This is a title in ABDO's SandCastle Mini Animal Marvels series for transitional readers (2 flags). Befitting the topic it is a small square book for littler hands. After a short paragraph introducing these small animals living on farms as pets or workers, four animals are covered-- miniature horse, cow, pig and goat. Each receives four pages in the same format. The first double-page spread has the heading with a color photo and short paragraph (1-3 sentences) opposite a larger photo of that creature. Above this is the height comparison with humans in silhouette at 6-feet tall and the animal also in silhouette in inches (for some reason). The second double-page spread has another photo or two plus additional text of approximately four sentences. The animals are cute and well photographed. The text is interesting enough. What's missing is showing these miniatures next to a normal sized critter of its kind. The very basic book concludes with a Did You Know page (4 interesting facts, 1 for each animal), a 5-question quiz, and glossary. Includes a table of contents, but no index, which is probably not necessary in the 24 pages. Others in the series include miniature birds, dogs, mammals, primates, and reptiles.
Cells
Core Library/abdo [Core Library/abdo]
Duke, Shirley
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 14, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Part of "The Science of Life" series from the "Core Library" (nonfiction books for supporting Common Core State Standards for grades 3-6) this sturdy 48-page book provides a clear and interesting overview of cells. You will note, however, that I am not recommending it for the designated age range. This is fairly dense information with a highly advanced vocabulary. Readers learn the history behind cell theory, as microscopes were discovered and then perfected. The parts of both animal and plant cells are taught, explained, and illustrated. Readers learn about organelles, DNA, RNA, cytoplasm, and the two types of ER. Lysosomes, ribosomes, vauoles, chloroplasts, and mitochondria are all explained. The two basic types of cells--eukaryotic and prokaryotic are introduced. Stem cells, chromosomes, and cell division are explained in depth. Primary sources are introduced, and higher level thinking is encouraged. The book includes a glossary, bibliography and index. This is well-presented, but would be more appropriate in a middle school than an elementary school.
Miniature Dogs
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 14, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review of Miniature Farm Animals in ABDO's SandCastle Mini Animal Marvels series for transitional readers by same author and reviewer. At least in this title there is one page showing a photo of a normal size dog and the miniature beside it in the introduction. The dogs covered in this book include--toy poodle, miniature pinscher, miniature schnauzer, and Alaskan klee kai.
Miniature Birds
Sandcastle/abdo [Sandcastle/abdo]
Kuskowski, Alex
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 14, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Miniature Farm Animals in the same ABDO SandCastle Mini Animal Marvels series by same author and same reviewer. This title is in the exact same format as Miniature Farm Animals except that in place of an introductory small photo of each animal there is a map of where in the world this bird lives. Showing bird size in comparison to humans is even more difficult especially with the smallest bird, the bee hummingbird at 2-1/2 inches compared to the 6-foot human. The other three birds covered are the red-shouldered macaw, the parrotlet, and the green aracari. The photo of the bee hummingbird caught with its beak sipping nectar is one of the best.
Unicorn Valley
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Banks, Rosie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Three girls--a blonde, a dark-haired charmer, and a redhead--use a magic box (and an adorable pixie) to solve riddles and find their way to the magical Secret Kingdom. There rotund and amiable King Merry has the throne much to the wrath of his sister, Queen Malice. She has hidden six thunderbolts in the kingdom, designed to bring unhappiness and mess up things generally. Our three heroines are tasked with saving the day. This is the second book in the series where they find the second thunderbolt ruining the Golden Games where young unicorns' horns get turned from silver to gold. Nasty slime caterpillars are eating the magical apple tree that keeps Unicorn Valley beautiful. Whatever will our heroines do? Oh, save the day, of course. This is formula fiction, blatantly aimed at young girls, without much in the way of character development, plot, or real tension. Black and white illustrations accompany the uninspired text. Will the intended audience read this? Of course, but it's cotton candy, not something more substantial.
Enchanted Palace
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Banks, Rosie
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Three cute girls--a blonde, a dark-haired charmer, and a redhead--use a magic box (and an adorable pixie) to solve riddles and find their way to the magical Secret Kingdom. There rotund and amiable King Merry has the throne much to the wrath of his sister, Queen Malice. She has hidden six thunderbolts in the kingdom, designed to bring unhappiness and mess up things generally. Our three heroines are tasked with trying to save the day in what looks to be a six book series. (6 thunderbolts, 6 books...it's not hard to do the math.) In this, the first book in the series, Malice tries to disrupt the king's birthday party. The three girls step in and save the day, earning crowns and the eternal gratitude of the monarch. Fortunately the time they spend in this enchanted world does not count against their real lives, so nobody needs to know they were ever gone. This is formula fiction, without much in the way of character development, plot, or real tension. Black and white illustrations accompany the uninspired text. Will girls read this? Of course, but it's cotton candy, not something more substantial.
Plop!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Dotti
Mcwilliam, Howard
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Malcolm and his friend, Dandy, are Ghost Detectors and this is book #14 in their adventures. An old bottle belonging to Malcolm's grandmother turns out to contain a ghost. It annoyingly squirts ectoplasm in their eyes and refuses to come out. If Malcolm wants to keep the bottle he's got to get the ghost to move. This is another fun, lightweight addition to the series of easy chapter books. A bit of humor, occasional black and white illustrations, a teensy bit of scariness--it's a nice blend. This is a good series for readers who want something scary, but not really scary.
Petting Zoo
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Tuchman, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The "Discover More Readers" series from Scholastic are 32 page books featuring bright photographs, and simple text. What distinguishes them, however, is the free digital activities accompanying the text. Readers need only go online and type in a special code to be led to digital activities, quizzes, and games related to the text. This book provides young readers with a quick introduction to animals typically found in a petting zoo. Readers learn a little about the animal, and are also presented with some interesting odd facts. This book, for example, shows a table comparing the sizes of eggs belonging to different birds. There's also information on different types of chicken combs. This is a fun and interesting overview, without enough depth for report-writing. It would be a grand introduction before students visit a petting zoo, however, and includes some basic safety information as well.
Top 10 For Boys
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Terry, Paul
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 15, 2014
Dame, Anne
Colorful pictures and illustrations about topics such as high-octane machines, animal kingdom, gaming galaxy, sport zone, forces of nature, etc. will provide lots of fun browsing as well as interesting facts for anyone who picks up this book. The one drawback is that the sheer volume of information can be a bit overwhelming. Could go a bit lower and/or higher than 5-8 grade also.
Planets
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 15, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The "Discover More Readers" series from Scholastic are 32 page books featuring bright photographs, and simple text. What distinguishes them, however, is the free digital activities accompanying the text. Readers need only go online and type in a special code to be led to digital activities, quizzes, and games related to the text. This book provides young readers with a quick introduction to planets. They take a spaceship past the moon and learn briefly about many things that make up our solar system such as the sun, planets, asteroids, and dwarf planets. The book includes a glossary and index. It's more for browsing than report-writing, but provides a clear, if brief, overview of the topic.
Big Hairy Secret
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Troupe, Thomas Kingsley
Gilpin, Stephen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Since her father's death, ten-year-old Flo and her mother have moved a lot, and Flo's not happy about it. It seems each place they move to is dingier than the last. Now they're in the big city, on the 17th floor of an apartment building. But this place isn't just dingy--it's just plain weird. The kid across the hall, who is Flo's age, runs around in his underwear. There's a glowing crack in the laundry room floor. Where are all those giant spider eggs coming from, and what is going to come out of them? When a full moon rises much becomes clear, but that doesn't mean it makes sense. This is the first book in the "Furry and Flo" series and it bodes well for the upcoming books. The writing is fun and fresh, capturing the characters perfectly and creating that blend of humor and scariness that is so hard to master. Stephen Gilpin's black and white illustrations are exactly right, and capture the characters well. The plot is a hoot, and sure to tickle the target audience. This is a series your students will love.
Catfish Tale : A Bayou Story Of The Fisherman And His Wife
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Stewart, Whitney
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
The story of the fisherman and his wife gets a New Orleans twist in this clever and delightful retelling. The fisherman catches, and then releases, a talking catfish in the bayou. When his wife hears about it she insists he go back and asks for a place where she can sing to a crowd. Now, the fisherman is happy with things as they are, but he does as his wife says. Soon she is demanding more and more until she is queen of Mardi Gras. One more wish gets her into trouble, then she realizes her mistake and all ends happily. This is a nice version of the story where the foolish wife learns a valuable lesson, and doesn't just end up punished for her greed. The writing is fresh and lively, begging to be read aloud. Gerald Guerlais's digital illustrations glow with an inner light. This is a must add for your comparative fairy tale/folk tale section.
Moldylocks And The Three Beards
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Jones, Noah Z
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Princess Pink (yes, first name Princess, last name Pink) abhors pink...and princesses. Then, late one night, she steps through her refrigerator into the Land of Fake-Believe. Soon she is helping Moldylocks deal with the three Beards, after meeting Mother Moose. A ride on a tunacorn (horse with a fish on its head) can take her home again, but she decides Molylocks needs her help more. A clever disguise ensures all ends well. This is silliness at its silliest, with nonsensical plot, and bright funny illustrations. Young readers will doubtless find it hilarious.
Scarlatti's Cat
CAROLRHODA [CAROLRHODA]
Lachenmeyer, Nathaniel
Beccia, Carlyn
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti wrote a famous composition commonly known as "The Cat's Fugue." The story is that he based it on the sound of his cat running up and down the keys of his harpsichord. Nathaniel Lachenmeyer has taken this tale and fleshed it out into the story of a pampered cat who longs to compose her own tunes. The house rules, however, are that nobody can touch the keys of the harpsichord except Scarlatti. When a mouse intervenes, Pulcinella the cat finally gets her chance. Unfortunately, the composer's fear of the source of his inspiration becoming known makes him give the cat away. This is a well-written story with delightful detailed illustrations that take readers back to an era of pompadours and waistcoats. The end note gives the background of the story. Music teachers especially might enjoy this book as a way to introduce Scarlatti's Sonata in G Minor.
Itty-Bitty Animals
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Emerson, Joan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Some animals are small and this charming nonfiction book introduces young readers to a few of them. It includes the pygmy hedgehog, fennec fox, bumblebee bat, jerboa and ten other animals. Each is given a two-page spread with crisp color photographs and a paragraph of information. The book includes a glossary. There's not enough here for report-writing, but this is a dandy nonfiction book for level 2 readers to browse.
Lizards
SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION [SCHOLASTIC NONFICTION]
Bishop, Nic
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 16, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
You know when you're talking about Nic Bishop that you're going to have spectacular photographs and solidly written nonfiction text, and this is no exception. In this level 2 reader lizards are defined and readers learn general facts about their habitats, diet, and life cycle. Different types of lizards are shown. Best of all, at the end Bishop explains how he took some of the photographs and provides a photo index that names each of the lizards found in the book. This serves as an overview, and a brief one at that. Still, this is another well-done bit of nonfiction that will fascinate as it educates.
Princess Tales : Once Upon A Time In Rhyme With Seek-And-Fin
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Maccarone, Grace
De Marcken, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
It will be the beautiful, detailed illustrations with hidden treasures that will draw children into this book. The stories chosen are standard classics from Europe, but the retelling in verse couplets is sometimes forced and full of fairy tale language without the ease of reading in prose. Luckily, most readers will already be familiar with most of them as it might be difficult to piece the story line throughout the poetry if one was not familiar. However, most children will probably happily skim (or skip) the poems to search for the details – some found in all pictures – where is that fluffy dog and the checkered pattern, others unique and described at the end of each poem. Interestingly, though the stories are all originally European the illustrator takes us in and out of fairyland and around the world. The Princess and the Frog is in China and Rumpelstiltskin looks like it is set in the Andes among others. Fairy tale lovers will return to this over and over, but probably not to read the poetry.
Mo And Jo Fighting Together Forever
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Lynch, Jay
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Mona and Joey are the arguing sort of siblings. So when their favorite super hero Mighty Mojo (who happens to also be their postman) give them his suit with all its powers they fight and tear the suit in half instead of finding a way to share it. Their mother fixes it by creating two suits -one for Mona (Mo) and one for Joey (Jo). The twins bicker over who inherited the best superpowers, but when put to the test against a villain they work together to save the town parade and become Team MoJo. This is a sturdy library bound reissue of a fun Toon Book from 2008.
Grasshopper Magic
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE]
Jonell, Lynne
Dorman, Brandon
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
The Willow kids- Abner, Tate, Derek and Celia, know that the hill that they live on is magic, but they never know when and where the magic will show up. This time it pops (or should I say jumps) up in the grasshoppers that are hatching out of the ground. When the kids try eating a fried grasshopper from their yard they discover that they have amazing jumping skills but they also realize that they have a problem as a visiting toddler also ate at least some of the grasshoppers. They go on an expedition to help the toddler work through his magical jumping skills until they fade without letting any grownups know about their magical secret. Through this all, Abner usually a reserved kid, gains confidence to succeed at something he was not looking forward to. Readers transitioning into chapter books will enjoy this third fantasy about the Willow kids.
Einstein The Class Hamster
HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR) [HENRY HOLT & COMPANY (BYR)]
Tashjian, Janet
Tashjian, Jake
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
An outgoing classroom hamster named Einstein wants to be a game show host. Unfortunately only other animals, and one kid, Ned, can understand him. Ned is quiet and overlooked in the class but with Einstein’s help he works on making sure his voice and ideas are heard in class. Ned honors his hamster friend with a hamster sized game show set at his home for when Einstein visits. Readers will like the large print, goofy illustrations, quizzes and trivia scattered through out, but the story itself is a little thin.
I Am Cleopatra
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Norwich, Grace
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 17, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and she lives on in legend and myth. What do we know about this strong woman? This book clearly lays out the basics, in a way that tells the truth but doesn't go into details about some of the more "interesting" aspects of Cleopatra's life. It begins with an overview of the historical characters the reader is about to meet. (Very useful.) A timeline follows that goes from 323 BCE - the death of Alexander the Great - to 30 BCE - the death of Cleopatra, a descendant of Ptolemy I who was an adviser to Alexander. Readers learn about the cultures, geography, and peoples of Egypt at the time of Cleopatra's birth as well as a brief overview of history that had an impact on that culture. Sibling marriage, and the underhanded ways used to maintain the throne are all shown. Cleopatra's life, along with the men she influenced, is clearly related, as is her final defeat and death. The writing is interesting and is accompanied by black and white photographs and illustrations. This is a clear and interesting introduction to a fascinating woman that gives interesting insights into a specific historical period.
Dolphins Of Shark Bay
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Turner, Pamela S
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
The dolphins that live in Shark Bay off the coast of Australia are amazing. Different groups have created numerous hunting techniques not shown anywhere else in the world. Some use a sponge as a tool to protect their rostrum when looking for bottom feeders, others beach themselves to catch prey and the different groups work in complex social networks to help support not only family, but friends as well. This “Scientists in the Field series” text focuses on the work of Janet Mann and her colleagues who are studying how these skills and traits are passed between dolphins and the intricate social webs. Students who are interested in animal science will be intrigued by the details of the dolphins as well as how they are studied. However, this particular text is perhaps less accessible than some of the others in this excellent series.
Case Of The Locked Box
KANE PRESS [KANE PRESS]
Montgomery, Lewis B
Wummer, Amy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Jazz is proud of the fundraiser she has been heading up for the school garden. But when the nearly one hundred dollars raised goes missing from the locked box that only she (and the school treasurer who has been out sick all week) has a key for goes missing, things look bad. Not only is the fundraiser a bust, but Jazz will be in trouble for missing money that she didn’t take and will be kicked off of student council as well. Luckily, she has Milo to help her discover what happened. With some careful research, some clever thinking and a little courtroom drama Milo comes to the rescue and Jazz is vindicated. This is another winner in the Milo and Jazz series.
Sinking Of The Titanic : A History Perspectives Book
Cherry Lake Publishing [Cherry Lake Publishing]
Lusted, Marcia Amidon
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 17, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Viewing the tragic events of the Titanic’s sinking from three viewpoints adds a twist to the standard Titanic book. However, a lack of source notes left me wondering whether this should really be considered historical fiction, even though it has non-fiction text features. The evening events of the Titanic’s sinking are told in first person narrative first by William Davies, who was on duty in the crow’s nest when the iceberg was first spotted, Lucy Winn-Norton, a First-Class passenger, and Maggie Donovan who was traveling with her mother and brothers in steerage. The style of the book is engaging. Titanic fans will enjoy thinking about the tragedy from different perspectives, and fact boxes, period photographs and artifacts as well as re-created scenes (clearly labeled as such) add to reader appeal. Jumping on the common core bandwagon side bars encourage readers to find text evidence in multiple places and compare. Readers will enjoy this, however, the lack of clarity about sources, or even if these made up narratives are based on actual passengers (a quick search says no….) was frustrating. One page explaining this, and a source list would easily make this reviewer more impressed.
Life Science Through Infographics
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Higgins, Nadia
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
From organisms, to DNA, to the lifecycle of lifecycle of ladybugs, and how to live “green” 12 topics related to life science are explored in two page spreads in this text. The layouts are bright and colorful, but unfortunately the very short introductions, layouts and choice of graphics do not always increase understanding of the material presented. These infographics might be useful to support other learning, but are not organized or have enough in-depth or compelling enough information for readers to gain much on their own. There are better series to purchase, such as World in Infographics by Owlkids.
Great Trouble : A Mystery Of London, The Blue Death, And
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Hopkinson, Deborah
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
An actual cholera outbreak in Victorian London is the basis for this compelling historical fiction novel that combines strong sympathetic characters, a science and personal mystery, and a vivid setting. Eel is a mudlark searching for refuse to sell from the muck of the river Thames. He is also a messenger boy for a brewery, and does odd jobs sweeping and cleaning for the neighborhood tailor, and cleaning animal cages for a doctor. When he is accused of stealing, Eel heads off to clear his name and discovers the tailor has been struck down with cholera the first in an epidemic that hits Eels neighborhood. As Eel works to survive he discovers that he has cultivated and protected relationships and skills that eventually allow him to help solve the mystery of what has caused the outbreak of cholera. They also allow him to find a home and a better future for both himself and his younger brother. This is a fascinating read that looks at both the setting, and the scientific history of how the truth of how cholera spread was documented saving countless future lives. Readers will root for the appealing character of Eel as they immerse themselves in the novel.
Weird Insects
FIREFLY BOOKS [FIREFLY BOOKS]
Worek, Michael
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Amazing photographs of many beautiful and bizarre insects make this book a browsers delight. Unfortunately, the paragraphs describing the insects are full of an odd assortment of facts that make the book nearly useless for research. There is no mention where the insects live or their size. Though the facts chosen are often interesting, there is no consistency to the information sometimes it touches on their body, sometimes what they eat, and sometimes whether they are harmful to humans. In addition the vocabulary is often higher level further limiting the reading and researching, though not the browsing, audience. It does include an index.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 8
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 7
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 3
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 2
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 4
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 5
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz : 6
Spotlight [Spotlight]
Shanower, Eric
Young, Skottie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Dorothy, Toto and their adventures in Oz come to life in this excellent graphic novel based on the classic by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy and other familiar characters come alive in the graphic novel format where the reader can view their reactions through the body language and expressions expertly drawn by Skottie Young. The story follows the novel closely and readers who have only seen the movie will be happy to find new adventures not in the classic film await the characters as well as the satisfaction of each of Dorothy’s companion finding a place to live as a leader after she returns to Kansas. This is a reissue of the one volume paper edition published by Marvel in 2010. This sturdy well-bound set will not only last, but also enlarges the wonderful illustrations. Two downfalls are that the individual volumes do not stand alone -if one fairly expensive volume goes missing, a portion of the whole is missing as well and, secondly, missing from the set are the additional notes and character development sketches of the paper original.
Lost In Bermooda
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Litwin, Mike
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 18, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
When hu'man, Dakota, is shipwrecked in Bermooda he discovers a friendly island with talking cows and other animals. Cud anything be stranger? His new friend, Chuck, disguises Dakota in cowmaflauge and tries to figure out a way to get him home again, not knowing that Dakota really doesn't have a home at all. Nobody can know what he is, of course. Hu'mans are said to be extinct, and were monstrous creatures capable of consuming the island's occupants! No bull! The two friends soon discover a cowspiracy to scare the island's residents into cowpitulation. Have you heifer heard of such a thing? Working with a flying pig (don't ask) they reveal the truth and in a mooooving finale provide a new home for young Dakota. This is rife with puns, as you would expect, and is a fun, fast read with short chapters and occasional black and white illustrations. Would I steer you wrong?
Shifty Business
HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS [HARCOURT CHILDRENS BOOKS]
Trine, Greg
Dormer, Frank W
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 18, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Jo Schmo, fourth grade superhero, is back again in her 3rd adventure. When a crime tsunami hits San Francisco, Jo is called out of class by her grandpa to use her superpowers to stop car thieves, shoplifters, and bank robbers. All the while, Jo is working on controlling her new skill of shape shifting- which leads to funny scenarios such as Jo as a monster chasing down the bad guys. The book ends when Jo is able to stop the masterminds behind the crime tsunami as they attempt to sink a yacht full of rich folk with a bomb. Luckily, Jo gets her shape shifting under control, and with her faithful sidekick dog, Raymond, save the day. Funny, quick paced and full of goofy characters readers just moving into chapter books will enjoy this and the other Jo Schmo titles.
Vietnam War
Essential Library/abdo [Essential Library/abdo]
Gitlin, Martin
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 18, 2014
Gleb, Heidi
For the preteen and teen who enjoys reading about war, this series will be a welcome addition to a library. Each of the books includes background information about the causes of the war and the cultural divide that caused politics to classh with the common folk. Black and white and color photos help the reader see the reality that is combat. A timeline, map, list of key players, and glossary are included. As with other titles in this series, additional maps placed throughout the book instead of only two at the end would help in understanding how troop movements affected the outcome of the war. This title gives a fair amount of detail about the anti-war movement. A solid purchase for beginning researchers.
Dolphin Story
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Tuchman, Gail
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 19, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This book is "Dolphin Dive" by James Buckley, Jr. It is a level 2 "discover more reader" introducing dolphins. The book teaches young readers about dolphins' intelligence, diet, habitat, anatomy, and social interactions. New words are introduced clearly and a final index and glossary make it good for primary report-writing. Crisp color photographs abound. The series is noted for its additional digital activities. Readers can go to the website and type in a code to be given access to quizzes, videos, sounds, and more. All in all this is good easy nonfiction that will both entertain and educate.
Mystery Of The Stolen Snowboard
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Warner, Gertrude Chandle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 20, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is the 134th book in "The Boxcar Children" series and it follows the standard formula. Violet draws, Jessie mothers, Henry leads, and Benny is always hungry. An angry man is an obvious red herring, and the children are helpful on their way to solving the mystery. It is, however, in an updated setting. The Aldens are at a mountain resort to support their friend in a snowboarding contest. When his snowboard is stolen the Aldens are on the case. Simple text, occasional black and white illustrations, and short chapters make this a good series for those who want a mystery in the easy chapter book set. Yes, they're boilerplate, but the students love them, and enjoy the success they find in reading them.
Forest Has A Song : Poems
CLARION [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Vanderwater, Amy Ludwig
Gourley, Robin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
First time author Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, has teamed with watercolorist, Robbin Gourley in an exquisitely illustrated, lyrical collection of poems featuring tidbits of forest life. Readers see the forest through the eyes of a young girl as she wanders the woodsy scenes in all four seasons, commenting on and talking to the ferns, lady slipper, and squirrels. “I stop to read the Forest News in mud or fallen snow. Articles are printed by critters on the go.” Most of the poems are rhyming with a scattering of haiku and the girl’s conversations with elements of nature.. Easily comprehended by elementary school students, the poems are imaginative and capture the experiences of an owl’s first flight, the mating call of the tree frog, and lichens, “messages in cursive code. The poems are framed by an invitation to visit the woods and conclude with, “Melody is everywhere mixing in with piney air. Forest has a song.” This is a worthy addition to your poetry collection and softly flowing, brightly colored watercolors are large enough for a read aloud.
DAISY DAWSON ON THE FARM
CANDLEWICK PRESS [WALKER & COMPANY]
VOAKE, STEVE
MESERVE, JESSICA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Daisy Dawson, the friendly girl who can talk to animals, returns in a 5th adventure on a drought ridden farm where the irritable pigs, chickens, donkeys, newts & ducks are morosely waiting for rain. The pond has dried up and the rain dances don’t work. The next plan is for the voles to soak up river water and squeeze out in the pond but that just darkens the dirt. An end-of the summer party fails to bring the rains and it isn’t until the haughty cats arrive for their annual meeting that a cloudburst breaks the heat and fills the pond. Silly songs and pencil and ink drawing are interspersed with humorous conversations between the animals and Daisy in this light-hearted, slightly magical early chapter book.
CLEMENTINE AND THE SPRING TRIP
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
PENNYPACKER, SARA
FRAZEE, MARLA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The irrepressible Clementine and her obsessively rule-driven friend, Margaret provide the backdrop for a field trip to Plimoth Plantation and fears of 4th grade rules about making no sounds when eating. Clementine’s mother is pregnant and her father is decorating the entryway to the apartment building for National Pecan day in April. Clementine is paired with the new girl Olive who has invented her own language and seems unperturbed by the classroom antics. Humorous as always, Clementine is just the right book to recommend to your 2nd & 3rd grade girls who want a feisty, fun-loving girl character.
ESCAPE FROM SILVER STREET FARM
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
DAVIES, NICOLA
MCEWEN, KATHARINE
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
From preschool Lego farms to 5th grade animal lovers, Gemma, Meera and Karl had planned and schemed to create a farm. A case of mistaken identity of 2 sheep and 5 chicken eggs from the Veterinary Office started them down the path, eventually leading to the Silver Street Farm, built in an abandoned railway station in the city center. Scottish farmer Flora arrived just in time to help pull the project together and finally they are ready for the grand opening of Silver Street Farm on Christmas Eve. But the turkeys and two ewes have escaped and disappeared without a trace the night before. Humorous antics will have animal lovers laughing at the preposterous happenings including a grocery store visit by the sheep and a baby-saving turkey huddle. Black & white pen & ink illustrations head each chapter and various animal tracks cross the page bottoms. This early chapter book, has appeal for both boys and girls, animal lovers and as the 2nd book in a series holds promise of more.
GROW A GARDEN : SUSTAINABLE FOODS
Magic Wagon [Magic Wagon]
KESSELRING, SUSAN TEMPLE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Brightly colored digitally rendered illustrations depict a garden’s bounty and provide general information for the younger reader covering the process from selecting a location to harvest and eating time. Wordiness and vagueness hinder the usefulness though, as younger readers will be bogged down with too much text and too many generalized instructions that require asking adults or reading seed packets in order to make decisions and proceed. As part of the Move and Get Healthy series, the MyPlate recommendations are given and healthy eating encouraged. Informative and succinct, the light blue isolated fact boxes instruct readers in topics such as organic gardening, compost, the soil squeeze test and baked kale chip recipe and are the most readable and useful portions of the book. Glossary, Learn More and index are included. An additional purchase.
The Mesopotamians
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books [Marshall Cavendish Children's Books]
MARA, WIL
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 20, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
The early Mesopotamians invented many of the most basic systems and inventions we still use today. Wheels, irrigation channels, plows, writing, early medical practices, formal monetary system, a mathematical system beyond counting, reference tables, decimal system, and the list goes on, as they are also credited with forming the first settled communities, and earliest civilization. With the bulk of their land between two great rivers and resulting fertile soil, there was plentiful food and resources needed to support a large, growing population. The Technology of the Ancients series is tightly written, including maps, photographs of current day as well as illustrations depicting early times, ancient artifacts, and large yellow colored informational boxes containing a related topic that is separate from the narrative. A timeline, glossary, recommended books and websites, and index add to the quality of information provided. An excellent addition to an upper elementary or middle school collection where ancient civilization is taught.
Raven And The Loon
INHABIT MEDIA [INHABIT MEDIA]
Qitsualik-Tinsley, Rache
Smith, Kim
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 21, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Loon and Raven were both white, which they both found boring against the snow and ice of the tundra. So they decided to have a contest decorating one another. Raven worked on Loon first and with soot and a needle created a beautiful, detailed pattern in black and white. However, when Loon started to work on Raven he kept talking and moving about even when Loon asked him to be still. Finally, Loon grew so frustrated with her pattern being ruined that she threw the lamp at Raven covering him head to toe with soot. Raven was so mad he threw the lamp at loom and it hit her feet smashing them flat. This book with its clear language and welcoming illustrations will be a welcome addition to the folklore shelves. This is co-written by a Inuit story teller.
Dear Santasaurus
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
Mcanulty, Stacy
Kaminsky, Jef
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 21, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Ernest, a little purple dinosaur, really wants to stay on Santasaurus’ “good list” but it’s hard when you are a little mischievous and rambunctious. In monthly letters to Santasaurus the reader learns of Ernest’s adventures and evolving gift wishes. His hard wishes come true on Christmas when he receives the scooter of his dreams. The last letter is Ernest effusively thanking Santa for the gift even if he has already broken the brakes and bent the handlebars. This is a fun Christmas story with cartoonish illustrations that should entertain many readers.
Civil War Witness : Mathew Brady's Photos Reveal The Horrors
Compass Point Books [Compass Point Books]
Nardo, Don
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 21, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
When the Civil War started photography was still young art. Luckily for us, Mathew Brady, perhaps the most famous photographer of the time, realized that photography could be used to document the war. Using his own money he sent photographers and went himself to the battlefields of the Civil War. In order to do this he had to create moving darkrooms that could be wheeled where needed. He was not the only photographer to document the war, and other photographers, notably Alexander Gardner, are discussed in the text. However, Brady was better at promoting his work and selling it to magazines. Unfortunately, the business was not lucrative and when he finally sold the collection to Congress he lost money and died penniless. Unlike others titles in the series this books looks at the impact of a body of work on history rather than a single image.
How To Draw Incredible Ocean Animals
Smithsonian/capstone Press [Smithsonian/capstone Press]
Mccurry, Kristen
Osterhold, Jared
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
April 21, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
If your step-by-step drawing books need replacing, you might want to look into this new series put out in conjunction with the Smithsonian. The drawing directions are standard: in five steps starting with a general outline, details are added until the finished sea creature emerges. One nice detail is that any new drawing in a step are shown in black while what has been previously drawn fades to blue. The nicest feature is that each spread has a photo of the real sea creature and a paragraph about them. Just think! Sketchers might do a little reading as they draw. The binding is sturdy, but unfortunately has the slightly tacky cardboard cover that gets dirty quickly.
Big Top Otto
KIDS CAN PRESS [KIDS CAN PRESS]
Slavin, Bill
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 21, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Otto the Elephant and his friend Crackers, a parrot, are back for a new adventure. When Otto gets a hint that their old friend Georgie, the chimpanzee, might be with a traveling circus he and Crackers set off to find him. They train hop to Georgia hoping to find the circus as it moves through the country. With plenty of adventure they make it there only to get tangled up with the law when they steal a peanut mobile. They also find out that the circus has gone bad and has gone into the exotic animal trade, and that one of their biggest customers by the animals to hunt, kill and stuff them to hang on his wall. With bravery, brains, and a little luck the two animals fumble their way to heroism saving the remaining animals and turning the bad guys over to the police. Unfortunately, a Hollywood scout bought Georgie earlier so the friends are not yet reunited, however the tale ends with the two friends climbing into a car headed for Hollywood. Readers will want to stay tuned in for the next installment.
Mystery Of The Wild West Bandit
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Warner, Gertrude Chandle
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 21, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is the 135th "Boxcar Children" book. This time the Aldens are off to the wild west--a town designed to celebrate the authentic spirit of the old west. There are melodramas, and reenactments, and, of course, a mystery. Someone seems to be trying to sabotage the place. Is it the evil developer? How about the disgruntled actor? As always there are several possibilities, and the four children are ever helpful as they solve the mystery. Yes, this is fiction written to a formula. It includes stock characters, and the stories are pretty much interchangeable. Still, students love this series and, when old fans tire of the books, new fans grow into them.
QUARTERBACK CRISIS
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
RILEY, ZACH
RICCI, ANDRES M.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 21, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Fifth grader Drew “the Dart” had been the quarterback for as long as he’s played on the team. But all of a sudden his darts have become wobbly ducks and are falling short of his receivers. Even backyard practice with his father fails to bring back his throwing ability and his confidence is gone. Tyler, a new boy in town, has a piercing spiral throw and takes over the quarterback position but doesn’t have his heart in it. Tyler works with Drew, helping him regain confidence and skill and allowing Tyler to go back to receiving. Characters in the Zach Riley early chapter book sports stories, are boys who face friendship, confidence, and ability difficulties. The plots are repetitive with moral overtones in the problem resolution but may be a good series for those younger sports loving boy readers. The cartoon-like black & white illustrations diminish the realism of the story but may appeal to some of the target readers.
SURPRISE KICK
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
RILEY, ZACH
RICCI, ANDRES M.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 21, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Fifth grader Cody and his best friend Mudman were soccer stars – at least on the gaming system, until the day his Father insisted Cody play the real sport. But prowess on a gaming system does not always translate into athletic prowess and it was Mudman who had a natural knack for moving the ball down the field. After scoring a goal for the other team, losing the ball to faster players, and bloodying his nose rather than a header, Cody decides he’s quitting. But listening to Grandpa's stories about the war convinces Cody that if his Grandpa could persevere through such danger, he could keep practicing and trying rather than quitting. Predictable feelings of jealousy, embarrassment, and inadequacy are resolved in a formulaic way, but may be a good series for those younger sports loving boy readers. The cartoon-like black & white illustrations diminish the realism of the story but may appeal to some of the target readers.
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
Sportszone [ABDO PUBLISHING COMPANY]
RILEY, ZACH
RICCI, ANDRES M.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 21, 2014
Sepessy, Lona
Junior has always loved baseball until he makes the traveling team and Coach Grates makes him crouch low and hold his swing for every pitch. But walking to first and running the bases is not what Junior wants. Although short, Junior can wallop the ball on his sandlot team and that’s where is heart is. Unable to follow Coach Grates strict orders, Junior faces the dilemma of staying on the traveling team but not being able to play the way he loves or he can quit the team and return to the sandlot. The plots are formulaic with simplistic resolutions but this still may be a good series for those younger sports loving boy readers. The cartoon-like black & white illustrations diminish the realism of the story but may appeal to some of the target readers.
An Amazing Snowman
DISNEY PRESS [DISNEY BOOK GROUP]
Hick, Barbara Jean
Mosqueda, Olga T.
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Despite the fact that there is really not much substance to this Disney Frozen title young children won't care. When they see the cover they'll want it no matter what! With no plot really, this book describes why Olaf, the snowman, is so special. It's not just because he walks, talks, and sings, but that he sees the best in everyone, finds the beauty in every day, and because he dreams of new, positive adventures. The allure of this book will be in the cute illustrations that recreate Frozen characters and allow young ones to enjoy the experience anew. Disney is definitely captializing on Frozen's success!
New Girl : An Up2U Character Education Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Suen, Anastasia
Dippold, Jane
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 22, 2014
Garrard, Thom
When Vanessa joins the class, Sara reluctantly gives her the help that the teacher expects. The class bully resents the extra attention that Sara and Vanessa are getting, so she immediately targets them for humiliation. Just when things seem to be returning to normal, there’s an appalling but unrealistic incident where the substitute gym teacher makes Sara sit out of the dodgeball game because she is the last unpicked player and adding her would make the teams uneven. After talking to her best friend, the reader gets to select one of three options for Sara – ignore Vanessa, be polite to her, or befriend her. Each leads to a predictable ending. Neither the simplistic plot, nor the shallow characters, nor the handful of black and white illustrations is likely to attract many fans. As a prompt for a discussion of bullying, better books are available.
Stella's Starliner
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Wells, Rosemary
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Stella lives on a country road in a movable house called the Starliner. She is perfectly content with her home, its two rooms, kitchen and bed that converts from a sofa. But when a band of weasels pass by after school they taunt her trailer calling it tin (not silver) and saying she must be poor. This stings her heart like bees. She can't eat or sleep, but doesn't want to share the sting with her mother. That night they have a magical trip through the night sky as her father trails the trailer to a new location by the water with friendly neighbor children who appreciate Stella's silver home. They think she must be a zillionaire! And again she feels like one. Rosemary Wells' signature illustrations capture the sparkly skies that compliment the silver Starliner. Young children will recognize the meanness, but may not understand the Starliner itself. This sweet, quiet story could prove a discussion starter between parent/adult and child.
Ben & Zip : Two Short Friends
FLASHLIGHT PRESS [FLASHLIGHT PRESS]
Linden, Joanne
Goldsmith, Tom
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Perhaps the whole intent of this book is to surprise (or mislead) the reader. On the cover there are two boys and a dog. On the first page Ben is introduced as short and Zip as shorter as they skip amidst a large group of people on the boardwalk to their favorite spot the popcorn wagon, but there is no clear view of who Ben and Zip are. When a storm comes up Zip, whom the reader never sees, bolts into the crowd as Ben, now identified visually, calls for him in the wind. From this short boy's point of view all he sees are, "Right knees, left knees, knees with sandy patches. Fat knees, bony knees, knees with bumps and scratches." This rhyming continues with each new perspective--from a bench Ben (and the reader) sees only a wide variety of mostly unattractive bellies; from the top of the picnic table he sees a confusing array of hair; from the lifeguard stand he just sees a deserted beach. Finally he decides Zip would head to Wally's Popcorn Wagon, but he's not there until Ben hears a yip from below the boardwalk. Underneath we finally meet Zip, whose leash is snagged on a post. The water color and ink illustrations are lively, detailed and fun. The point of view drawings could provide an extension activity for children.
Here Comes Firefighter Hippo
Boyds Mills Press [Boyds Mills Press]
London, Jonathan
Eduar, Gilles
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten
April 22, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Meet Little Hippo who is playing firefighter pedaling to respond to a pretend fire with the repeating ding-a-ling! ding-a-ling! He is helped out of difficulties such as a mud hole and steep hill by other animals. Then he sees a flash of lightning hit a tree which bursts into flame. He rounds up Elephant who is drinking at the water hole to help spray water on the fire and puts it out. The story ends with a fun mud fight for Little Hippo and Mama. Reviewed in SLJ. Other books in the series include Here Comes Doctor Hippo
Treasure Of Way Down Deep
FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR) [FARRAR, STRAUS, & GIROUX (BYR)]
White, Ruth
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 22, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Sequel to Way Down Deep. Story stands on its own about Ruby, 10 year old, who appeared as a toddler in the Appalachian town of Way Down Deep, and is still living at Miss Arbutus' boarding house. Other guests are Ruby's grandmother, little Rita who stays during the week to attend school, and Ruby's unpopular teacher, Miss Duke. Bad things happen - Ruby's pet goat dies and the local coal mines start to close. Then Ruby sees the ghost of her pet goat and the button that Rita gives Ruby has a clue about a fabled treasure of Archibald Ward, the town's founder, that can save the town. Satisfying ending. Reviewed in Booklist.
Psych-Out!
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Abdo, Kenny
Doucet, Bob
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 22, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Psych-out! from the Haven't Got a Clue! series. Mental telepathy and magic tricks are highlighted when a new student, Echo Sprankle, claims to be a psychic. He surprises fellow 4th graders with magic tricks and reading minds by revealing bits of information that only a few know. "How does he do it?" is what 4th grade kid detective, Jon Gummyshoes, wants to know. Setting is the Edwin West Elementary School but the activities are more fitting to a middle or junior high location. Putting on a Thanksgiving play with paid attendance, little adult supervision of lunch room, and romance between 4th grade boys and girls give rise to question the setting. Examples such as "Amber Holiday, my former flame" and Becky Lipgloss...."resident pretty girl and the object of my best pal's affection." Story is fun with appropriate reading level. Eye catching cover and whole page, black and white illustrations. Library binding and cover. Other books in the series include: All for a Game; Comic Relief; Duck, Dive, Rock & Roll; Give Me Liberty or Give Me Detention!; Triple Take.
Boxcar Children Spooktacular Special
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Warner, Gertrude Chandle
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 22, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Three Boxcar Children stories in one book. The Mystery of the Haunted Boxcar, set in the Alden children's own boxcar, starts when they see a light mysteriously shining in their boxcar that leads to clues to the car's past. The Pumpkin Head Mystery has the children helping out at a pumpkin farm where the hayrides are being haunted by a jack-o'-lantern headed ghost which can either scare people away or increase the business. The Zombie Project has the children helping at a camp where a story about a mysterious hermit who dies and becomes known as the Zombie. What is happening now with lights in the night in the woods? Illustrator Robert Papp adds wonderful black and white pictures and colorful, eye-catching cover. Great addition to draw interest to the classic Gertrude Chandler Warner stories - especially around Halloween.
Sport Bikes
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Part of ABDO’s A & D Xtreme titles this one is in the Xtreme Motorcycles series. Its 32 pages seem geared to the high interest easier reading level of the sports bike enthusiast as the text is not intimidating in its size or amount plus the busy layout and large color photos invite the reader into the speed of these vehicles. For the uninitiated the text is difficult as it’s full of technical, mechanical terms that will suit the targeted reader. It’s pretty amazing that a vehicle could go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds! All of the photos are labeled or well captioned plus added fact boxes are included. Hamilton is a well known nonfiction writer and this book has all of the desired text features from table of contents to glossary and index. This does not have enough detail for report writing, but that is probably not why a student would pick this up☺ A 4th grade student experienced with dirt biking did not recommend this title as it covers too many topics and includes harder terms. Others in the series include Choppers, Cruisers, Dirt Bikes, Harley Davidson, and Pro Stock.
Dirt Bikes
A&d Xtreme/abdo [A&d Xtreme/abdo]
Hamilton, John
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See review for Sports Bikes also in the A & D Xtreme Motorcycles series. This title proves a decent introduction, more fluid, and more readable for the novice than Sports Bikes. Again such terms as cc (cubic centimeter) are defined in the glossary, a very necessary attribute.
Monkey And Elephant Go Gadding
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Schaefer, Carole Lexa
Bernstein, Galia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 22, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
See previous reviews for Monkey and Elephant by local author Carole Lexa Schaefer. In this new installment of the three-chapter beginning reader, after monkey and elephant get so nicely cleaned up they decide it's too nice to stay home, so they go "gadding". Monkey defines this as, "walking along, looking around, finding something fun, stopping awhile, and then moving on." In fun surprise number one they come to Uncle Phump, the old elephant's home, where every guest gets to choose a new hat. In fun surprise number two they discover Cousin MeeMee, the monkey, and her three little babies. Together they swim, enjoy a snack, and leave a hat behind with the babies sleeping in it. Gadding proves to be a pleasant romp for Monkey and Elephant and for beginning readers.
OREGON DUCKS
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
WILLIAMS, DOUG
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 23, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Each book in this series about college football teams details the history of a well-known program from the biggest victories to the most devasting defeats. Before their recent ascendancy to elite status, Oregon went 95 years between Rose Bowl victories, so there are plenty of lows and highs to discuss. Long-term coaches and key players are also listed with their statistics. School traditions, such as how Oregon became known as the Ducks, are explained. (Originally called the “Webfoots,” a name derived from Massachusetts fishermen who settled near the campus, a student vote changed the nickname in 1932.) Since they partnered with Nike in 1998, their revolutionary, modern uniforms have also attracted attention. Mostly full-color photographs cover at least half a page on each two-page spread. Back pages are filled with a timeline, quick stats, quotes and anecdotes, a glossary, places for more information, and an index.
13-Story Treehouse
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [MACMILLAN]
Griffiths, Andy
Denton, Terry
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 23, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Andy and Terry have a problem--they promised their editor a new book but they've been too busy having fun and wasting time in their 13-story treehouse to get around to writing and illustrating. It is true that their lives are rife with incident. They create flying cats, have an ongoing problem with sea monkeys, make a giant banana, and get attacked by a giant ape. (Could it have anything to do with that banana?) The story of their misadventures turns into the book they needed to write, so all ends well. This is a book that is awesome in its absurdity and stellar in its silliness. Like so many current books, it's rife with drawings that have a kid quality to them, and the writing is breezy and told in the first person. Lamentably, this doesn't reach the level of Wimpy Kid or Nate the Great. It will, however, appeal to the same audience.
Frog Freakout
DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS [DARBY CREEK PUBLISHERS]
Sparkes, Ali
Collins, Ross
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 24, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is the seventh book in the S.W.I.T.C.H. series and twins, Josh and Danny, are off to camp. This should mean that they're safe from their mad scientist neighbor Petty Potts, who has invented a formula that has turned the twins into various insects (and put their lives in danger) in the previous books. Guess who turns out to be a guest counselor? This time she's working on a new formula--for amphibians! When a key falls in the lake Josh, Danny, and a new friend, Charlie, are turned into frogs to retrieve it. The life of a frog, however, is fraught with peril. This is a fun series that gives readers some solid facts about animals in a fictional format, with short chapters and black and white illustrations. Teachers will find it a good tie-in with classroom science units.
EVIL BEHIND THAT DOOR
RAVEN BOOKS [RAVEN BOOKS]
FRADKIN, BARBARA
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Unsuitable
April 24, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
This is a "Rapid Reads" chapter book that is exactly that--a quick read. Cedric O'Toole is helping his friend Barry Mitchell fix up his old farmhouse for sale. Barry inherited the house, more or less, when his parents went missing and their bodies were never found. Now that Barry's out of prison he's ready to move on, or is he? When Cedric finds a door nailed shut in the basement he is told not to open it. Still, he can't help himself. Inside he finds a root cellar and the bones of a child. Who was the child? Why was he nailed away? Evidence shows he lived for a time after his incarceration. Barry's manic behavior puts Cedric at risk. Was he responsible for the bones...and his parents' disappearance? Finding out may be more dangerous than Cedric thought. This is a tense, well-written story. It is, however, not really school fodder. The F word shows up frequently but, more than that, the characters are adults. This book is aimed squarely at an adult audience and it hits the mark.
These Broken Stars
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Kaufman, Amie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
The first book of the Starbound SciFi trilogy, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner start to explore the ideas of social inequality based on wealth and the rising issue of slavery brought about by inordinate corporate influence on government policy. Lilac LaRoux, the daughter of the universe’s wealthiest man and his only heir, is thrown into contact with Tarver Merendsen, a young, lowly war hero on a recruitment tour, when their intergalactic ship the Icarus is suddenly ripped out of deep space and plummets to a nearby planet. Of the thousands on board, they are the only ones to survive. They find the planet is in the later stages of terraforming, but find no evidence of workers or inhabitants; that is until Lilac starts to get glimpses of people whom she knows to have died in the crash. Because of the social gulf between Lilac and Tarver, their learning to work together to survive is not an easy one and there are several comic scenes involving cruel shoes and inappropriate ball gowns in the face of bogs, wild animals, and cold weather that help lighten the realistic survivalist passages. Refreshingly, Lilac is the character with the technical expertise.
Shadows
TUNDRA BOOKS [TUNDRA BOOKS]
Paula, Paula
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
The first book in the Rephaim series begins with Gaby Winters mourning the death of her twin brother, Jude. His death is hard enough, but Gaby watched him in the car accident in which she was the driver. While her body may have healed and she has moved to a small beach town in Australia, Gaby’s guilt and grief are raw and pulsating. And then there are the hell beasts that she encounters and fights every night in her dreams next to the green-eyed wielder of a wicked sword. They are so real that she has turned them into fiction and posted her dark stories on the Internet. When the stranger shows up in the real world claiming to know details about Gaby and Jude that she cannot remember, she is both intrigued and furious. Rafa is hardly trustworthy, but when other strangers arrive and abduct Gaby's roommate, he may be her only ally. Rafa claims that he, she, Jude, and many others are Nephilim (Old Testament and Book of Enoch), the offspring of fallen angels who chose to leave heaven and mate with mortal women. As more and more Nephilim start to appear in Gaby's life, it becomes clear that she's in the middle of a battle between two warring groups. She has no way to know whom to trust and her roommate's life depends on the answer.
Hitler's Secret
Chicken House [Chicken House]
Osborne, William
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Originally published as: Hitler's Angel; Frome, England in 2012. Screenwriter Osborne makes his fiction debut with far-fetched adventure/thriller is loosely based on World War II history. Two young teens infiltrate1941 Bavaria on a vital mission. Austrian Leni and German Otto, both refugees living in England, are tapped by British Intelligence to go undercover as part of a desperate attempt to find and retrieve a girl who holds unknown significance to Adolf Hitler. They are chosen for the mission because of their fluency in German and the credibility of three youngsters traveling together. They go through a grueling two-week training period, which miraculously renders them capable of flying planes, scampering over rope bridges, shooting machine guns, and driving through barrages of gunfire. With one of the Third Reich's top men, the fearsome Reinhard Heydrich, in hot pursuit, Leni and Otto are forced to bite back their anger at the Nazis and terror of being apprehended to complete their mission. This is written with the screen in mind so action often trumps story and character and unfortunately the ending is all too predictable.
Seven Billion And Counting : The Crisis In Global Population
TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS [TWENTY FIRST CENTURY BOOKS]
Andregg, Michael M
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
October 31, 2011, marked an uneasy milestone for Planet Earth. On this day, the global population surpassed seven billion. What does that mean for a world that, until the nineteenth century, was home to less than one billion people? Experts say it means the planet is in trouble. Some wonder if Earth will even be able to sustain human life at its current rate of growth. Will there be enough food for everyone? Will conflicts over land increase? How will the environment be affected? Can humanity survive the predicted disasters? More than a simple case of running out of space, the population crisis is interwoven with a host of other issues--from climate change and resource management to war, disease, and poverty. Discover how all these factors converge to place an entire planet in crisis mode--and explore what sort of responses that crisis may require. Background overview with a call to action. Statistical information explained and useful as a research source with selected bibliography, for further information, glossary and detailed source notes. Dewey: 363.9
FORETOLD : 14 TALES OF PROPHESY AND PREDICTION
DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS]
RYAN, CARRIE
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
By turn hopeful, dark, romantic, and sad, these original short stories by well-known authors such as Meg Cabot and Laini Taylor focus on how thinking about the future changes our lives. Subjects range from finding love to magic, quests, monsters, and the end of the world. Neatly setting up the collection’s premise of foretold events (that may or may not actually come true) is Laini Taylor’s lyrical “Gentlemen Send Phantoms,” featuring three young girls on St. Faith’s Day awaiting the phantom visits of the boys they will one day marry. Diana Peterfreund’s “Burned Bright” is a sparse, horrifying story of a doomsday cult and its youngest seer, the prophet’s daughter. Malinda Lo’s “One True Love” explores the surprising twists of whether or not a princess will be the downfall of her father, the king, as foretold at her birth. The brief but strongly written “Improbable Futures,” by Kami Garcia, delves into the hardscrabble life of modern carnies and fortune-tellers. Deliciously creepy yet hopeful is the tone in Carrie Ryan’s “The Killing Garden.” Richelle Mead’s “Homecoming” will appeal to fans of her Vampire Academy series but likely confuse anyone new to that world.
Diamonds & Deceit
HYPERION PRESS [HYPERION PRESS]
Rasheed, Leila
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
Rasheed, Leila Diamonds and Deceit (at Somerton) Grades: 7-12 Rating: R The second book in the At Somerton series of Downton Abbey imitators, this takes up the story started in Cinders and Sapphires (2013). There are balls, scheming servants and conniving debutantes. It’s the eve of WWI and Rose is trying to learn how to be the recognized daughter of Lord Averley instead of the house maid she had been before. It’s the season and all three of the Averly sisters are expected to catch a husband to secure advantageous social and monetary connections; it’s most desperate for Charlotte This is her third season and if she isn’t successful this time spinsterhood rears its head. Ada must decide if she can accept Lord Fintan’s proposal even though she is still in love with Ravi, because marrying him means financial security for her and her family, crippled by brother William’s gambling debts. Rose is unwittingly drawn into a relationship with the heir to one of the wealthiest families in England, completely unaware of his playboy reputation. Michael’s and Sebastian’s stories also are intertwined. Gossip (and the fear of it) is the driving force at the heart of the story.
Romeo Blue
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Stone, Phoebe
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 25, 2014
Datisman, Eve
The follow up to The Juliet Code picks up with the Bathburns in Bottlebay, Maine, one year later and with WWII in full swing. It's now 1942, the Coast Guard is patrolling for U-boats, and there's still no word from Winnie (her mother) or Danny (the man she thought was her dad), who are Allied spies stationed in France. Life goes on for Flissy and co., even in the midst of such uncertainty. Her love for Derek unabated, Flissy is stung when he takes someone else to a dance. A welcome visitor is her young friend Dimples, an evacuee from England whose guilelessness is a breath of fresh air for the secret-harboring Bathburns. Flissy relates the events on the homefront, as foster cousin Derek attempts to track down his father. Unfortunately, a man claiming to be him shows up, but it's perfectly clear to Flissy, who's sworn to secrecy, that the man is a fraud. Finally, in despair over the wreckage of her family, Flissy runs screaming into the nighttime sea, only to be saved from certain death by Gideon--an epiphanic moment. Even after the fraudulent-father plotline is resolved in a suspenseful climax that comes only midway through, the tale goes on.
Destination Human
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Denman, K L
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
7th grade to 9th grade
April 25, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Welkin is a Universal--an alien thought entity who desperately needs to pass his bioethics class. For his final project he chooses to observe a "primitive" from the inside out. Thus he is sent to Earth and enters the body of teenage Chloe. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't do it quite right and ends up on a ride-along instead of in the driver's seat. Since the assignment is only for 3 days, Chloe decides to go with the flow, but she doesn't know the end result, nor does Welkin truly understand its implications. Seeing the world from an alien's point of view is delightful, and chuckleworthy. Welkin's observations are a hoot, and his delights in the simple pleasures of life are instructive. He begins to reevaluate his previous misconceptions, which is sort of the idea behind the assignment. But how is it all going to end? This is another great book in the "Orca Current" series. It's a quick read, and very well-written--the sort of book a self-respecting teen could be seen carrying around even if he's not the best reader in the world. I highly recommend it.
Engineering A Totally Rad Skateboard With Max Axiom, Super S
Graphic Library/capstone Press [Graphic Library/capstone Press]
Enz, Tammy
Pop Art Studios
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 27, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
To help his nephew Nick and friends engineer a better skateboard Max Axiom, Super Scientist, backtracks to 1880 to observe a master engineer Thomas Edison. Edison’s process is to identify the problem to solve, brainstorm ideas, plan, create, test and then evaluate how to improve. Max takes this back to Nick, Rina and Juan to determine their skateboard needs—catch more air plus turn tighter and quicker. Then they study the physics of skateboarding—how to counteract gravity and include more angular momentum. After brainstorming ideas they create a plan with tools, supplies, detailed diagram (blueprint) and instructions. With teamwork they create a prototype and test it showing that carving works better, but rocket boosters need replacing with springs. The final product is a success. Page 28 & 29 include other cool inventions with a bit of history—skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, Heelys, Segways, personal jet packs and flying cars followed by a Max Axiom bio. This good narrative nonfiction has a detailed glossary, books for further reading, a publisher’s website, and decent index. Max Axiom is a popular series that draws in those who like the graphic novel format but with scientific facts.
Who Needs Glasses?
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Manushkin, Fran
Lyon, Tammie
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 27, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Here's another Katie Woo book, a beginning reader for primary students. In the first 24 pages (the story itself in three chapters) Katie Woo's classmate Pedro learns that he needs glasses when he finds books blurry. Even though she compliments him on his new glasses, when they are assigned to a group project together his glasses go missing. He makes mistakes reading the text about dinosaurs and doesn't draw them properly. Katie gets the idea to lose her glasses at recess, so others can see the result of her not seeing well. When their project looks in jeopardy, and she bemoans the fact that she can't find her glasses, Pedro suddenly locates his in his pocket. Funnily enough once Pedro is working successfully Katie finds hers in her pocket as well. Fans of Katie Woo will enjoy this book as well. The last seven pages include author/illustrator information, an eight-word glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, how to make glamour glasses, with additional activities on the facthound website for this book's i.d. number.
Three Little Pigs And The Somewhat Bad Wolf
ORCHARD BOOKS [ORCHARD BOOKS]
Teague, Mark
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this humorous variation on the classic story, the farmer and his wife decide to move to Florida, so they pay the three little pigs for their work and send them on their way. The first two pigs want to buy as many chips and sodas as possible, so they economize on building materials. However, their sister purchases bricks and mortar and then works hard to build a strong house and cultivate a wonderful garden. When the hungry wolf comes to town and finds the fast-food shops closed, he visits the pigs. To his surprise, his huffing and puffing destroys the first two houses. When he wears himself out trying to blow down the brick one, the pigs revive him and invite him to dinner. Subsequently, the first two pigs and the wolf move in, and the wolf is “hardly ever bad again.” Teague’s cartoon-like oil paintings, which completely cover each two page spread, convey the pigs’ good nature and a sense of fun. With the large illustrations, this book will work well for a library story time. Teachers may want to use it for a unit on fractured fairy tales. But primary students will simply enjoy reading it. Recommended.
THERE'S SOMETHING OUT THERE
SPOTLIGHT [ABDO]
NIGHT, P J
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The fifth book in the Creepover series begins at a sleepover where Jenna scares the wits out of her friends by telling a story based on the old local legend of the Marked Monster. When they freak out and start tossing around the huge talon she produces as a prop, Jenna suffers a painful, burning scratch that becomes infected and won’t heal. As she does research for a school project, she realizes that the Marked Monster might be real and that she may truly be in danger. By mixing the storytelling, the brother’s pranks, logical explanations, the legend, and possible encounters with the actual beast, the author does a good job of building up and easing the tension throughout the book. Rated as “sleep with the lights on” on the Creep-o-meter, middle grade girls who enjoy the horror genre will find this book satisfyingly scary.
Andrew Luck : Rising Nfl Star
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Hoblin, Paul
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Quarterback Andrew Luck is featured in this biography from Adbo’s Playmakers series. When he moved back to the USA from Europe as a sixth grader, Luck transitioned from soccer to football. After taking over the starting quarterback position at his high school, he amazed the coaches by learning the offense quickly. As class valedictorian and great quarterback, many colleges wanted him, but he picked Stanford University in order to challenge both his mind and his body. After helping turn Stanford into a winning team, he could have left for the NFL after his junior year. Despite the risk of injury, he stayed for his senior season, winning more games, finishing his architecture degree, and still being taken first in the draft. In the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts had a winning record and went to the playoffs in his rookie year. Fun facts and quotes, a glossary, resource lists and an index are included. Better links to updated stats and information would have helped extend the book's useful life. The captioned photograph or sidebar on each page helps to flesh out the picture of this special player, while also keeping the text manageable. Middle grade sports fans in particular will enjoy reading about Andrew Luck.
Robert Griffin Iii : Rgiii : Nfl Sensation
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Graves, Will
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
This biography is part of Adbo’s Playmakers series. When Robert Griffin III started playing youth football, his parents only allowed him to play if he did his homework and earned good grades. In high school, he starred in both football and track and was able to graduate a semester early. When Baylor University offered him the chance to play quarterback and run track, he went there and helped turn the program into a winner. In addition, he earned his degree in three years, started work on a graduate degree, and won the Heisman Trophy for his outstanding play. In the NFL, he helped reverse the fortunes of the Washington Redskins in his first year and won Rookie of the Year honors. Fun facts and quotes, a glossary, resource lists and an index are included. Better links to updated stats and information would have helped extend the book's useful life. The captioned photograph or sidebar on each page helps to flesh out the picture of this special player, while also keeping the text manageable. Middle grade sports fans in particular will enjoy reading about Robert Griffin III.
Louisville Cardinals
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Gitlin, Marty
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Each book in this series about college basketball teams details the history of a well-known program, including both highs and lows, as well as key players and coaches. Some of the University of Louisville’s greatest wins came when they went to the Final Four and captured the 2013 NCAA tournament title. From their origins in 1912 through the end of WWII, the Cardinals had many losing seasons, but they have been winners almost every season since then, including twice in the 1980’s when they also won the national title. Mostly full-color photographs cover at least half a page on each two-page spread. Back pages are filled with a timeline, quick stats, quotes and anecdotes, a glossary, places for more information, and an index.
Syracuse Orange
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Silverman, Drew
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Each book in this series about college basketball teams details the history of a well-known program, including highs and lows, as well as key players and coaches. At Syracuse University, there has been only one key coach, Jim Boeheim, who has continued to lead the Orangemen (now the Orange) ever since he took charge in 1976. Boeheim’s teams have won nearly three quarters of their games, gone to the NCAA tournament 29 times, and been in the national championship game thrice. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that they captured the title. Mostly full-color photographs cover at least half a page on each two-page spread. Back pages are filled with a timeline, quick stats, quotes and anecdotes, a glossary, places for more information, and an index. College basketball fans will enjoy reading about this successful program.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
HIGGINS, NADIA
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 27, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Actress Jennifer Lawrence is the subject of this brief biography from the Action Movie Stars part of Lerner’s Pop Culture Bios series. After some background on her family and childhood experiences in Kentucky, the book follows her pursuit of an acting career that first took her to New York as a fourteen year-old and a few years later to LA. At twenty-one, she received an Academy Award nomination for Winter’s Bone. Though not included in the book, she has since received two more nominations. When she captured the award for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, she became the second youngest winner ever of the Best Actress Oscar. Given its own chapter, her experience preparing for and filming the Hunger Games series is described in slightly more detail. The easy-to-read text is really too brief to make one feel well acquainted with Lawrence, but young fans may be happy with the many color photographs that fill the pages. Sidebars provide additional information, and an annotated list of websites and an index are included.
Peppa Pig And The Perfect Day
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Not Recommended -- Does not meet library standards in style, content or design.
Pre-Kindergarten
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Peppa Pig is wonderful for the preschool set with removable pop-ups, play pieces, a fold out play mat, and reusable stickers to place on the shiny coated mat. The idea is to read the story, add the tabbed characters to the removable pop-ups, and then decorate with the stickers and play. Problem with this concept of "decorating the book" is that it sets a pattern that a child might repeat on another book that is not meant to be "played" with in this manner. Back cover has a WARNING label that because of the small parts - choking hazard, this book is not for children under the age of 3 years. Reinforced trade edition.
Lena's Sleep Sheep
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Lobel, Anita
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
With a hug and kiss from Mama and Papa, Lena is ready to count her sheep to help her fall asleep but the sheep are afraid of the "round monster" of the full moon that they see out the window. Lena has the sheep dress up in her clothes to fool the moon but the disguises are awkward for the sheep to move in. One of the sheep discovers that they "round monster" is gone. Lena wishes that the moon will stay behind the cloud and let her count her sheep to go to sleep. Wonderful bedtime story. Would recommend library binding if possible for Library collection.
Curious George's 5-Minute Stories
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY [HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY]
Rey, H A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
13 stories about curious George, the little monkey, and the Man in the Yellow Hat. A treasury of stories of the monkey with all sorts of adventures such as marching in a parade, going fishing, attending baseball game, plus learns how to count from 1 to 50. Padded cover with foil accents. Great for bedtime or story time. Information about the creators, Margret and H. A. Rey. Would make a superb gift.
My Mother Goose : A Collection Of Favorite Rhymes, Songs, An
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Mcphail, David
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Wonderful collection of Mother Goose rhymes mixed with concept pages about getting dressed, alphabet, going places with types of transportation, counting, action words about what a bear does, shapes, and colors. Index. Reviewed in Publishers Weekly and Hornbook. Reinforced binding.
Hot Air Balloons
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Schuh, Mari
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Mari Schuh is a former teacher who has authored more than 100 science and social studies books for kids. This book describes and illustrates hot air balloons. Photograph images support early readers along with repetition of words and phrases. Subject-specific vocabulary. Four chapters with total of 24 pages. Table of Contents, glossary, read more from suggested readings, Internet sites, and index. Early readers will need assistance to learn the vocabulary in this high interest, eye-catching nonfiction selection. Other books in the Aircraft set include hang gliders, jet planes, and sea planes.
Family
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Rissman, Rebecca
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
From the series, Say what you see, "Family" is a very basic book abut what families do. Each page has one or two pictures with bold labeling words such as caring, sharing, watching, etc. Page with four pictures with their labels and instructions to find the appropriate page and "say what you see!" Last page has an index. Good for discussion starter. Library binding and cover.
Graphs, Graphs, Graphs!
A+ Books/capstone Press [A+ Books/capstone Press]
Boswell, Kelly
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 27, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Montana educator, Kelly Boswell, has created a useful book to help explain what graphs are, which one should you use, and shows how to make the graphs. Critical Thinking Using the Common Core with specific categories, FactHound Internet site offers more researched sites to use. Glossary, Index, suggested further reading. Other books in set deal with diagrams, maps, and timelines. Reinforced library binding. RL: 1-2
Double-Crossed At Cactus Flats : An Up2U Western Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Wallace, Rich
Mitchell, Hazel
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
After a prospector with two broken fingers joins up with orphaned teen Archer, they discover a rich vein of silver. Selling the claim in nearby Cactus Flats proves difficult, and others want to take it by force. When Archer talks to Virgil, the nice café owner, he finds out that he trusted the wrong man. A posse forms to chase outlaws who robbed the store, but Virgil connives to split them up. Once he has isolated Archer, he pulls a gun on him and makes Archer lead him toward the silver claim. Somehow Virgil knows that the outlaws have already ambushed the prospector, and his plan is to ambush the outlaws. The reader can then decide whether Archer works with Virgil to ambush the outlaws, tries to fight Virgil in hopes of rescuing the prospector, or tries to escape. None of the endings is particularly satisfying. Neither the simplistic plot, nor the non-existent character development, nor the handful of black and white illustrations is likely to attract fans of good literature. Yet, some less discriminating readers of early chapters may enjoy the adventure and the choice provided in the ending.
Homes In My World
Pebble Books/capstone Press [Pebble Books/capstone Press]
Cane, Ella
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
Homes are described and illustrated with simple text and photographs in this slim volume from Pebble’s My World series. With a word count of 126 and half of each of the nine two-page spreads dedicated to a picture, there is not much information in this book. The main idea seems to be that homes can be differentiated mainly based on how close each one is to its neighbor, although neighborhoods only exist in the suburbs, and “no matter where it is, each home is different.” This is a surprisingly poor product from a normally reliable publisher.
Shadow Throne
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Nielsen, Jennifer A
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 28, 2014
Gustafson, Chris
"The False Prince" introduced the intriguing character of Jaron, an orphan who spends the first part of the book fighting for the right to impersonate the lost prince of Carthya. Jaron is sprung from an orphanage by tricksy Connor who has assembled a group of orphan boys of about the right age and appearance. By pitting them against each other reality TV show style he hopes to have a strong candidate that he can install as the puppet ruler. Jaron excels at risk-taking and as the first book concludes he has emerged as the top choice for Connor's infamous plot and it is revealed that he is the true lost prince. I loved "The False Prince" and it has been very popular on Wildcats Read, our school-wide reading list, this year. I was not as taken by "The Runaway King," but in "The Shadow Throne," Jaron is on the verge of claiming the throne when enemies attack his kingdom from all sides. Jaron's cleverness save the day and Jaron reminds me a bit of Gen in Megan Whalen Turner's amazing "Thief" series. The secondary characters are not nearly as well-drawn, with love interest Imogen having a particular bland character, but some students through 8th grade will enjoy this.
NBA FINALS
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
SILVERMAN, DREW
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The NBA Finals is part of the Sports’ Greatest Championships series from Abdo. In the 1990’s, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to three straight titles, winning the Finals MVP award each time, left for two years, and then came back to lead Chicago to another three titles in a row, winning another three Finals MVP awards. No wonder many consider him to be the greatest player of all time. Although basketball was invented near the end of the nineteenth century, more than fifty years passed before the pro game caught on. In 1947, when the game was still much slower paced, the best of the eight existing teams met in the first NBA Finals. This book traces Finals history from there to the present day when play is quick and exciting and there are thirty teams in the league. Team and individual highlights from many championship finals are described in the text and through sidebars. Action photographs are also included, but not every two-page spread is illustrated. Students who are mainly interested in these visuals would do better to look elsewhere, but for young basketball fans who are willing to read to learn more about the history of the game, this book is both thorough and reasonably paced.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
PETERS, CHRIS
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 28, 2014
Garrard, Thom
The Stanley Cup Finals is part of the Sports’ Greatest Championships series from Abdo. In 2009, Pittsburgh and defending champion Detroit met in a rematch of the 2008 finals. Despite an injury to their star player, Pittsburgh pulled off a dramatic win in the seventh and deciding game. As per the custom, each player and team member then got to have possession of the cup for one day during the off-season. Canadians began playing organized hockey in 1875, but it wasn't until 1892 that Lord Stanley, the Governor General, suggested that a championship be held. This book traces the history of the Stanley Cup from its origins as an inter-league challenge cup, to the inclusion of American teams in 1917 (when Seattle was the first champ from the US), to the NHL gaining the sole rights to the cup in 1926. Team and individual highlights from many subsequent years are described in the text and through sidebars. Action photographs are also included, but not every two-page spread is illustrated. Students who are mainly interested in these visuals would do better to look elsewhere, but for young hockey fans who are want to learn more about the history of the game, this book is both thorough and reasonably paced.
American Entrepreneurship
CHILDRENS PRESS [CHILDRENS PRESS]
Mara, Wil
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 28, 2014
Korf, Clarence
American Entrepreneurship is a part of A True Book series. The entrepreneurial spirit is a major part of our American history and the book highlights what it took for these men and women to be successful. It encourages young entrepreneurs to take risks and fail and it encourages them to investigate their ideas through education and knowledge. There are many references to the successes and failures of many entrepreneurs and their unique characteristics which made them successful. The book includes a table of contents, statistics, resources (unfortunately all Scholastic), important words (glossary) and an index. The book did include a few women entrepreneurs but it would have been good to include a few more minority entrepreneurs as well.
Kid Pickers : How To Turn Junk Into Treasure
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [MACMILLAN]
Wolfe, Mike
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 28, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Discovering one's passion in life can be a challenge. If your passion is finding treasures in old things, than Kid Pickers is the book for you. One man's junk is another man's treasure is true in this book. Yes, this book is a product of the History Channel but it has lots to offer young pickers. Readers are guided through steps to be an effective picker and understanding the story behind the items found. There are profiles of young pickers as well as good research tips to evaluate an acquisition and interests. These research tips include the internet, library, relatives, local historians and more. There are times when a profit can be made for picking endeavors but the ultimate goal is to find things which give you pleasure. There is a good balance between text and photos. Book includes index and links to popular items.
Ski Superpipe
LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY [LERNER PUBLICATIONS COMPANY]
Bailer, Darice
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 28, 2014
Korf, Clarence
The focus of this short book is on skiing the Superpipe (half-pipe with 22 foot walls) and not snowboarding the Superpipe. It gives credit to Sarah Burke who was fearless in doing tricks in the Superpipe. Sarah was a front runner and leader of the sport who died in 2012 in a practice run. A brief description is given to the history and creation of specific ski design to make great tricks possible. A review of what it takes to become a Superpipe star as well as short bios on current stars. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, website links and index.
Cheaters
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Brezenoff, Steve
Pinelli, Amerigo
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
From the Ravens Pass series, three friends, Mia, Jimmy, and Andrew, cheat on a math test when two copy from the third and all end up with perfect scores. They think that they have gotten away with it, but then a very strange and creepy substitute teacher, Mr. Smith, comes for Mrs. Huckle. He even shows up at their homes. Even creepier. They confess. The twist that supplies the answer comes from their regular teacher. Includes Glossary; discussion questions; and writing prompts. But perhaps more important is the lesson that it is not good to cheat on tests.
What Cat Is That? : All About Cats
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Rabe, Tish
Ruiz, Aristides; Mathieu, Joe
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
From the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library. Traveling about in his Kitty-Cat-Copter, the Cat takes a boy and girl to meet different felines including lions, tigers, cougars, the Siamese down the block plus more. Learn about various traits of all cats, their anatomy, and behavior. A purrfect for cat lovers. Includes Glossary, further reading, and Index. Review copy is a trade issue.
Boxcar Children Beginning : The Aldens Of Fair Meadow Farm
ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY [ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY]
Maclachlan, Patricia
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Do you and your students know what happened before the Alden children ended up living in a railroad boxcar in the Boxcar Children series? To get the answer, purchase the prequel story by Patricia MacLachlan who visited the hometown of the Gertrude Chandler Warner and the Boxcar Children's Museum in Putnam, Connecticut before she started to write this story. During the Great Depression, the Alden family is living at Fairweather farm when the Clark family who have lost their home become stranded during a blizzard. The Aldens that the family in. The Clark children attend school with the Aldens, do chores together, and put on a circus day show. After installing the backordered car part and repairing their car, the Clarks leave the farm and sad friends. When the sheriff arrives with news that their parents have been killed in a traffic accident, the independent, stick-together children, strike out on a journey so that they won't be placed in an orphanage as they do not believe that their grandfather will want them. Reviewed in SLJ. Great book to introduce the Boxcar Children series.
Iron Empire
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Dashner, James
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 28, 2014
Bateman, Teresa
Finally the 7th (and final?) book in the "Infinity Ring" series has arrived. Dak, Sera, and Riq have been traveling through time to heal breaks in history that are leading to a cataclysm in their own time. Now they are at the core break, meeting the founder of their mission, Aristotle. Only by preventing the early death of Alexander the Great can they heal time completely. The plot to destroy Alexander, however, is being pushed forward by the other side, requiring further leaps to circumvent the tragedy. War beckons and our heroes find themselves tested more than ever before. Dashner is a great author, and he seamlessly adds to the series with sharp action, well-blended characters, and nicely integrated historical information. At last Dak and Sera get to see what their families might be like without the breaks in history, and Riq finds a new future in the past. The series ends in a satisfying fashion or does it? (Dum..dum...DUUUUUUM!) An epilogue leaves the door open for more. Fans will clamor for the book and, of course, you must buy it.
Fabulous Frogs
Scholastic Reference [Scholastic Reference]
Arlon, Penelope
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Two page spreads share information about frogs: All about frogs; Their bodies; What they eat; Tadpole to frog; where frogs live; Frogs in trouble; and 10 record-breaking frogs. Includes Glossary and Index. Reviewed copy was a paperback. Reviewed in Booklist. Level 2 for developing readers. Includes free digital activities online.
Velveteen Rabbit Christmas
Square Fish [Square Fish]
Barbo, Maria S
Hague, Michael
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 28, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
A My Reader, Level 1, book for emergent readers with repetitive language and word clues in the illustrations. It is Christmas Eve when Boy and Rabbit get ready by decorating the tree, hang the stockings, and set the table. Along the way, Rabbit gets lost twice. When the family arrives, they have dinner and sing a carol. Sweet, fun story for beginning readers inspired by Margery Williams' s The Velveteen Rabbit. Reviewed copy was paperback. Reviewed in Booklist.
Doggie Duties
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 29, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
The PBS Kids’ show Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman stars Ruff, the TV host dog, and now he has his own beginning reader series. The three chapters are lively, but full of bathroom humor. In Chapter 1 Ruff wins a Golden Blobby Award for “Best Screaming by a Dog during a Luge Race” and needs to find an appropriate place for it. His silent assistant cat Blossom suggests the bathroom, but it falls and breaks the toilet. The rest of the book chronicles Ruff’s urgent need to find a toilet that is not a litter box without much help from his mouse assistant Chet, who keeps playing with water. Since the plumber is gone for a week, Blossom finds that NASA has been working on toilets. Ruff then tries to become an astronaut, while still trying to contain his desperate situation, but is not pleased to find that space toilets recycle urine by filtering it into drinking water. The outlandish story ends with Ruff’s head stuck in Chet’s mouse hole. Young readers will probably be engaged by both the potty humor and the science of space toilets. The 44 pages conclude with Blossom’s Water Filter science activity that involves some readily available items, but activated carbon and crushed stone might need to be purchased.
Choose Good Food! : My Eating Tips
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Bellisario, Gina
Conger, Holli
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 29, 2014
Turpin, Sharon
Part of Cloverleaf Books My Healthy Habits series this title focuses on nutrition. This 24-page large nonfiction picture book contains three chapters entitled Picky Eater, Five Food Groups and Energy Lunch. The narrative nonfiction follows picky eater Lucas and his health conscious father through the grocery store where Dad tries to educate Lucas about what is healthy, examples from each food group and what role each plays. Back home Dad and son prepare his school lunch (cheese, turkey, spinach wrapped with whole grain tortilla) and snack (popcorn, raisins and almonds). Along the way fact circles provide much needed information expanding on each point. The US government MyPlate plan is described, but a diagram would be welcome. The text ends exhorting readers to eat healthy! The book concludes with how to make an energy school lunch by choosing from each food group; glossary; books and websites to learn more; and a brief index. This could work as a very introductory book for primary kids on healthy eating. Other topics in My Healthy Habits series include personal safety, stress-busting, exercise, avoiding danger zones at home, and keeping clean.
I'd Know You Anywhere, My Love
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Tillman, Nancy
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 29, 2014
Korf, Clarence
A picture book story in the theme of Runaway Bunny. A story told in rhyme about a parent who will always be able to recognize their child no matter if they decide to be different someday. The differences in this story are the child being a different animal throughout the story. "If you are a camel, I'd know by your grin. Little pink pig? Your chinny chin chin . . ." For younger children, the animals in the story make it fun. Some of the illustrations are really touching but others are less engaging because they are less realistic. The message in the story is you will always be loved.
Beyond The Grave : An Up2U Mystery Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Enderle, Dotti
Uhles, Mary
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 29, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Michael and Dylan are paired together for a group project on a local historical figure. Dylan loves to find interesting epitaphs in the local cemetery such as "Harriet Honey - Too Sweet to Die so Young." As the duo explores the historical people of Cedarville, they find a doctor who secretly built his Monty (Frankenstein) in the basement of his clinic. Dylan is convinced to get an A+ on this report and they will need to get a charcoal rubbing of the the doctor's tombstone. As they go out one evening to get their project visual, the flashlight goes out when Dylan is about to complete his rubbing. Readers are given three choices for an ending with each impacting Dylan's desire to get an A on the project. An early chapter story which may intrigue a few readers who like the thrill of being chased by a ghost and weird life scenarios.
Good Night, Zombie
FEIWEL AND FRIENDS [FEIWEL AND FRIENDS]
Preller, James
Bruno, Iacopo
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 29, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Good Night, Zombie is part of the Scary Tales series. This story is about three students who get trapped in a school overnight. There adventure begins when they try to exit the school and the doors are chained shut. The find a weird janitor who tells a tale of the school being built on an abandoned graveyard. Some of the bodies were disturbed and they now haunt the school for one night every eighteen years. They can only be rescued by the breaking of daylight the following morning. The story is quick paced and for those students who like scary stories may like this story. Fans of Goosebumps may enjoy this series as well.
DAYTONA 500
SPORTSZONE [ABDO]
LONG, DUSTIN
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 29, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Not being an active NASCAR fan isn't necessary to enjoy the stories told about the races at the Daytona 500. The book starts out with the youngest winner of the race, Trevor Bayne, in 2011. After telling his story, the book goes through how the Daytona 500 got started, the important race car drivers, the crashes, the tragedies and how the race has changed over time. Young race enthusiasts will enjoy this book and the stories of various drivers may pique an interest into NASCAR racing. It tells both the good and the bad of racing as well as the improvements NASCAR is doing to make the race as safe as possible. Pictures are in color and in black and white which help to tell Daytona's history. The book includes a timeline, championship overview, glossary, further readings, web links, places to visit and an index. This book is part of Sports Greatest Championships series.
Pick 'n' Mix!
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Corderoy, Tracey
Wildish, Lee
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Some kids will beg for more books about the Troll buddies, Grunty and Grouchy, who get thrown off a bus on their was to the movie; mix up the treats at the candy counter; take some without paying money; thrown out of the theater by the manager before the movie ends. A visit by Aunt Greta who directs clean up of their incredibly messy home and the job of substituting for a sick teacher who needs to get to school for the RATS Awards (Reading and Thinking Silently), have the trolls getting things mixed up to fix their style. Other books in the series at Freaky Funfair; Big Splash!; and Beastly Feast! No reviews found. Not surprising as the Trolls are messy and do things that we would not want our students to do. Copy reviewed had Reinforced Library binding.
Should Charlotte Share? : Being A Good Friend
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Rissman, Rebecca
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
From a series "What would you do?", Should Charlotte Share? asks readers to respond to several dilemmas such as sharing food, helping to tie shoes, tease another, and tell the truth. Options are given and the reader asked what they would have done. Suggestions for teachers and parents on how to use the book and encourage children to chart their decisions. Picture glossary; index. Library binding. Reviewed in SLJ.
Squirrels On Skis
RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER [RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READER]
Ray, J Hamilton
Lemaitre, Pascal
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Squirrels skiing everywhere through town on popsicle sticks with toothpicks for poles. The mayor calls a meeting and the pest-control guy is asked about how to stop the squirrels. When the ideas include poisons and traps or a vacuum device, reporter Sally Sue Breeze speaks up. She is given 24 hours to find out where the squirrels are getting their skis. She follows the tracks back to the Acme Popsicle Sticks building where she is approached by a rabbit who wants to sell her some skis, too. Sally Sue says that the sticks and toothpicks are not his to sell because they belong to the town. Then she has an idea. Soon the squirrels smell roasting nuts and head for the source. They find the BBQ. Then after a nap, the squirrels are ready to ski again but Sally Sue tells them to follow her. Where the factory once was, is now a new ski lodge with a sign that said "Welcome to Bushy Tail Great Ski Chalet" with four snowy slopes marked off for skiing. But the squirrels must follow the rules. Eat daily and take skis off in town. Fun story in rhyme. Eye-catching cover. Reviewed in SLJ.
There, There
TEMPLAR [TEMPLAR]
Mcbratney, Sam
Bates, Ivan
Highly Recommended -- Superior book everyone should buy.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 29, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
When Hansie Bear trips when he is trying to walk like a duck but falls into a ditch, can't get out, and hurts his knee. His dad comes to help and gives Hansie a big hug and says, "There, there, it won't be sore for long - you'll see." While digging in the sand pit, he gets sand in his eyes. Dad tells him to blinkety-blink and that he'll be better soon and gives him a big hug. Then while playing with friends on his swing, Hansie bumps his head. Dad gives it a rub and a hug, then tells him he'll be fine. Later, Dad is coming very slowly through the gate because he has a thorn in his foot. Mom pulls it out and Hansie says that he knows a good thing to do. He gives Dad a big hug and says, "There, there, we'll be all right now." Yes, we will be all right when we take this message to heart. So get this book. Wonderful gift for a Dad to read to little ones. Superb illustrations. Reinforced trade edition. Reviewed in Booklist, SLJ, and starred review in Publishers Weekly.
Port Chicago 50 : Disaster, Mutiny, And The Fight For Civil
ROARING BROOK PRESS [ROARING BROOK PRESS]
Sheinkin, Steve
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 29, 2014
Dame, Anne
Steve Sheinkin adroitly handles another non-fiction work, this time addressing the severe inequality that blacks faced when serving in the Navy during WWII. Compelling accounts of the individuals working on the docks near San Francisco at Port Chicago. Under extremely hazardous conditions, blacks in the Navy were loading all the munitions on the ships going to fight the Japanese. This is their story.
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius
ROARING BROOK PRESS [MACMILLAN]
Greenberg, Jan
Sandra Jordan
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
From the cover photograph of Ohr with his wind blown handlebar mustache, to the photographs of his strikingly modern pottery juxtaposed to the black and white photographs the reader is drawn into this book. Art potter extraordinaire, eccentric showman, and family man Ohr is shown in the context of his setting- a small Mississippi village where he lived much of his life until his death in 1918. That context makes his showmanship and originality all the more startling. Readers will come away having enjoyed the life of an American original, but will also gain an understanding of art pottery. Included is an article about the Ohr-O’Keefe museum that honors the artist in Biloxi, and a wonderful piece on “How to Look at a Pot” that will be of special interest to art teachers, another of how to throw a pot, and an extensive bibliography, notes, and picture credit section. This is a wonderful biography of an interesting less well known artist that will draw readers in to explore his world.
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf
CANDLEWICK PRESS [CANDLEWICK PRESS]
Almond, David
Mckean, Dave
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Three children are wandering out in the countryside. Meanwhile the gods are busy creating plants, and creatures (some familiar and some creative). When the gods get tired they decide to take a rest. The children, however, decide to try their own hand at creating. Little Ben creates a mouse from grass that is then transformed into a live creature, Sue creates a bird, and Harry transforms a rope of clay into a snake. However, when the three work together to create a wolf, things go terrible wrong. He attacks and eats the two older children and it is up to Little Ben, who pleads with the gods to help, to “uncreate” the wolf to save them. The story ends with the gods waking from their nap to have tea and discuss the mouse, bird, snake and wolf that populated their dreams. This is an intense, odd book that will need to find its way into specific readers hands to be appreciated. Angular, cartoonish illustrations and layout bring this book close to being a graphic novel though there are no speech bubbles and much of the text is in paragraphs.
Above
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Terrell, Brandon
Cano, Fernando & Joe Azpeytia
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Skater Nate Kreece lives with his mother in the city but late one night while out filming his skateboarding friends, his apartment house is destroyed by a fire. They have lost everything but what they have with them that evening. Nate is a superb filmmaker for the boarding community. His computer was destroyed. He has to start over. With help and encouragement from friends he makes a new movie. Language will appeal to skateboarding middle to high school students.
Really New School : An Up2U Action Adventure
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Fields, Jan
To, Vivienne
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In a school full of rule-following students, new kids Ana and Bryce meet in the hall one day and find a secret passageway behind the lockers. After they enter and get trapped, they overhear the principal and the coach discussing knife throwing and fighting. While searching for an escape route, they find a boy who has been held there for weeks. He leads them out, but when they are caught emerging from the secret hallway, he acts like he intended to turn them in. Ana and Bryce make a run for it, but then the reader must decide whether they run out the door, trust the other boy, or insist he tell them what’s going on. The school turns out to be a criminal training center, a spy facility, or a brainwashing experiment, depending on the reader’s choice. Although character development is minimal and the black and white illustrations are pretty basic, there’s plenty of action, tension, and mystery in the plot. The endings are diverse and distinct, and readers of early chapters will probably enjoy both the action and the choice of conclusions.
Adventure Of The Cardboard Box
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Goodwin, Vincent
Dunn, Ben
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this episode from the Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, a woman receives a cardboard box that contains two human ears. By observing details about the ears and the package, and by questioning the recipient, Holmes disproves the police’s theory and uncovers the truth. One sister of the recipient created discord in another sister’s marriage, and brought on a murderous rage in the husband. When confronted, the husband jumps overboard to a certain death. The text is easy to read, Holmes’s powers of observation and deduction are on full display, and crime solving will surely attract some readers. The pedestrian artwork sometimes fails to convey the action clearly, but it may still warrant some attention from its target audience of reluctant readers.
Adventure Of The Dying Detective
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Goodwin, Vincent
Dunn, Ben
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this episode from the Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock Holmes has fallen ill with a rare disease. Refusing treatment by Dr. Watson, he insists on being seen instead by a particular man who is not a doctor but who has studied the disease extensively. When he arrives, Holmes’s rapidly declining health convinces the man to reveal that he killed his nephew with the disease and that he infected Holmes with the sharp spring in a booby-trapped box that he sent in the mail. The text is easy to read and Holmes’s ability to disguise and deceive is central to his solution of the crimes. Some reluctant readers may be drawn in by these assets, though the basic artwork sometimes fails to convey the action as clearly as it should.
Adventure Of The Red Circle
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Goodwin, Vincent
Dunn, Ben
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Garrard, Thom
In this episode from the Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, an innkeeper calls on Holmes to investigate a mysterious lodger who has stayed in his room for ten days. Using the help of some cryptic classified ads he finds in the newspaper, Holmes uncovers a newly married couple being threatened by a murderous gang member. To no one’s great sorrow, the gangster is killed, and the couple goes free. The text is easy to read, and crime solving will surely attract some readers. However, the adaptation of the story is a bit disjointed, the pedestrian artwork sometimes fails to convey the action clearly, and without much evidence of Holmes’s powers of observation or deduction, the book is unlikely to draw much attention from its target audience of reluctant readers.
Handle With Care : An Unusual Butterfly Journey
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Burns, Loree Griffin
Harasimowicz, Ellen
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
A package arrives at a museum filled with butterfly pupa, they are individually hung up and eventually butterflies emerge from them to populate the butterfly exhibit. This book looks at the butterfly farm in Costa Rica where the pupa came from. Filled with beautiful photographs and approachable text, readers are introduced to the work that goes on at the butterfly farm from collecting wild butterflies in the jungle, to feeding larva and keeping them safe from predators, to eventually packing up the pupa and sending them off to museums, zoos and exhibits far away. This engaging book will be enjoyed by readers and by teachers who are teaching the about insects. Includes extra information on insect lifecycles, the names of stages in the lifecycle for different insects, a glossary, index, further information and an interesting authors note about the process of researching the book.
Fall Of The House Of Usher
Stone Arch Books [Stone Arch Books]
Manning, Matthew K
Jimenz, Jim
Additional -- Satisfactory book but is or will be excelled in its field by other books.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 30, 2014
Korf, Clarence
This version of The Fall of the House of Usher is in graphic novel form. The story stays true to the original tale with dark drawings with green hues throughout. If you are trying to get kids intrigued about the work of Edgar Allan Poe, this may be a place to start. Poe's material is for older children with its complex issues. This is a high interest/low reading level book which has a glossary for Poe's word choices. Included at the back are some visual questions for prompting the reader's thinking about the story.
Superworm
ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS [ARTHUR A LEVINE BOOKS]
Donaldson, Julia
Scheffler, Axel
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
Super-long, super-strong Superworm loves to help keep his insect, gastropod, and amphibian friends safe. But the Wizard Lizard, and his evil sidekick crow want to use Superworm’s strength. They catch him and put a spell on him forcing to dig endless tunnels in search of treasure for the wicked pair. Luckily Superworm’s friends hatch an elaborate plan to trap the Wizard Lizard and destroy the flower, which is the source of his power. The plan works and hooray! Superworm is back to his old self helping the creatures around him. This is a fun, catchy rhyming story with colorful, entertaining illustrations that should be a hit at story time. Who will want to cheer for our hero, Superworm? Everyone!
Water Can Be...
MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD) [MILLBROOK PRESS (HARD)]
Salas, Laura Purdie
Dabija, Violeta
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Wittmann, Paula
This poetic book invites readers to ponder all the different things that water can do and be from “Tadpole hatcher” to “woodchuck warmer”. The main text is filled with two-word rhyming labels for water. In the back each of the rhymes is given a brief paragraphs explaining their reasoning. The ‘Woodchuck warmer” describes how snow can serve as an insulator keeping the animal warm during the winter. Like the companion book, A Leaf Can Be…,this book encourages wordplay and creative thinking. Accessible to young readers, this book will also appeal to older readers and to teachers who might easily use it as a model for a class writing project.
Adventure Of The Six Napoleons
Graphic Planet [Graphic Planet]
Goodwin, Vincent
Dunn, Ben
Marginal -- Contains so many weaknesses that it might be considered for purchase only as supplementary material in its field or to meet special localized subject needs.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 30, 2014
Korf, Clarence
A graphic novel version of a Sherlock Holmes case is basic and simplistic. The dialogue which carries the story does not always make good connections between characters or the reader. It was difficult to engage in the story since so much description is left out. The story did not create enough excitement at the beginning of the story to draw the reader into the conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Lestrade. The major events also did not build excitement as Sherlock Homes solved the case. Some mystery readers may enjoy this story but they are typically drawn to stories with more text and fewer illustrations.
Computer Games Designer : The Coolest Jobs On The Planet
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Featherstone, Mark
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
5th grade to 8th grade
April 30, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Computer Game Designer gives a personal reflection and information on what it takes to be a game designer. It starts with what a typical day is of the author as a computer programmer and the steps taken whether recreational and educational on becoming a game designer. There are many roles in becoming a part of the design team and a brief quiz at the back can identify which role best suits the reader. A good book to use to explore working in the gaming industry for a future career. The book includes a table of contents, glossary, other book to read and website links. The book could go a little younger but the print is small and some of the content is complex.
Energy
Heinemann Raintree Library [Heinemann Raintree Library]
Spilsbury, Louise
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Korf, Clarence
Energy is part of the Essential Physical Science series. The book is structured in providing information about a particular energy source with a related science experiment. Each experiment is stepped out with directions and pictures. The book contains three different types of text boxes - Did You Know (energy facts), Eureka (important discoveries) and What's Next (future advances in energy use). With a mix of colorful pictures and illustrations, text boxes and short paragraphs, the book is easily readable for students. All bold words are in the two page glossary. Also included are table of contents, index and Find Out More pages (additional books, website, places to visit and further research).
NUCLEAR ENERGY
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
LUSTED, MARCIA AMIDON
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Investigates the production and use of nuclear energy as an energy source, covering the costs, risks, potential roadblocks, and benefits. Useful as basic source materials for research and discussion. Accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima are addressed in how to deal with the problems of nuclear power plants. Well written with some full page photographs, text boxes, additional resources for further reading, Web links, and addresses of organizations to gather more information. Citations on pages 106 - 109 give an example for researchers who will be citing works in their research. Index. Library binding. Other topics in the Innovative Technologies series include Biomass energy; Hybrid and electric vehicles; Hydrogen and fuel cells; Methane energy; Solar energy; Sustainable agriculture; and Wind energy.
Hop-Skip-Jump-A-Roo Zoo
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Girouard, Patrick
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Books in the series begin with a two page discussion of a library as a "magic castle with many Word Windows in it." "What is a Word Window? A book. So let’s call it a book. Andy goes to the Zoo and imitates the actions of the animals such as swing and sway his arms like an elephant swings his trunk; stretch his neck like two giraffes do; carry a pack on his back like three camels do; run like five zebras; jump and leap like seven deer; hop like ten bunnies all the while increasing the number of animals from one to ten. Then Andy sees a friend at the ice-cream stand and they count to ten after eating their ice-cream. Older children would be able use the last page which has Questions and Activities with the suggestion to write down the answers. My two year old granddaughter enjoyed the counting of the animals and would imitate the activity but the story line was wordy so we simplified. Available in Library binding and also in kindle.
Yes, No, Little Hippo
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Desantis, Susan
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Books in the series begin with a two page discussion of a library as a "magic castle with many Word Windows in it." What is a Word Window? A book. So let’s call it a book. Little Hippo learns to play safely after getting hurt when he has jumped on the bed, climbed onto the back of a chair, rode his bike too fast down the hill. He and Papa go to the park where Little Hippo can jump, climb, bike, go for a boat ride with his life vest on, and ride the little cars with seat belts fastened. Good book for parents to use as a discussion starter about doing things safely. Last page has Questions and Activities with the suggestion to write down the answers which is more appropriate for older students. Library binding and available in kindle.
What Is A Preposition?
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Doyle, Sheri
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Extremely useful book for teaching what prepositions and prepositional phrases are and how to use them. Two-page spread with text on one with full page, color photographs with example boxes on the other. Review copy was reinforced library binding.
Before And After
Pebble Plus/capstone Press [Pebble Plus/capstone Press]
Frisch-Schmoll, Joy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Before and After is very useful for teaching the terms of before and after and what they mean using full-color photographs and simple four lines of text. Has a glossary, more books to read, Internet sites, and Index. Review copy was in reinforced library binding. Teachers will appreciate this book for demonstrating the terms.
METHANE ENERGY
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
FARRELL, COURTNEY
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Excellent series that investigates the production and use of methane as an energy source, covering the costs, risks, potential roadblocks, and benefits. Chapter headings are What is methane?; The history of methane energy; How digesters work; Environmental impacts; The benefits of methane digesters; Can biogas replace natural gas?; Methane hydrates; and The future of methane energy. This resource has glossary, Index, Additional resources, and source notes that demonstrate what is expected when publishing research.
HYDROGEN AND FUEL CELLS
ESSENTIAL LIBRARY [ABDO]
HIRSCH, REBECCA
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
6th grade to 12th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Photographs and text provide an introduction to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Chapter headings are Why hydrogen?; The history of hydrogen; Hydrogen production and uses; New horizons in hydrogen production; Hydrogen storage and transport; Fuel cells; Hydrogen cars; and The future of hydrogen. This resource has glossary, Index, Additional resources, and source notes that demonstrate what is expected when publishing research. Innovative Technologies series is useful for research and answering questions that students may have.
Elsewhere Chronicles : 6 : The Tower Of Shadows
GRAPHIC UNIVERSE [GRAPHIC UNIVERSE]
Nykko
Bannister
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
9th grade to 12th grade/Young Adult
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Not to be confused with Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West, Elsewhere chronicles Book six: the tower of shadows is a graphic novel with two paragraphs on the page before the beginning of the story meant to catch the reader up with the series. For older readers as the basis of the book is full of references to Biblical characters and events such as David vs. Goliath. The grandfather says on page 5, “Because I learned how to create gods. The same way that – in spite of myself – I created the Master of Shadow, I created the gods of this world!” Then Grandpa says “A true adventurer can pee while debating the existence of God, young sir!” Good vs. Evil should have a reader thinking as the three kids and grandpa are seeking to destroy the Master of Shadow and save Rebecca. Seek a copy of any book in this series to judge for yourself if you want to add these books to a Library.
101 Animal Babies
SCHOLASTIC [SCHOLASTIC]
Berger, Melvin
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
3rd grade to 5th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
101 animal babies has one page entries for each with colorful photographs and enough information to let the reader say, "Did you know ........?" Fun and wacky enough to start readers on a search for more information. Which animals hatch from an egg or which ones are born alive? Which ones cling to their mother? Fathers care for which ones? Students that I shared this with were excited about checking it out. Reviewed copy was paperback
Patriotic Mouse : Boston Tea Party Participant
Calico Chapter Books [Calico Chapter Books]
Horender, Philip
Wolek, Guy
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
2nd grade to 4th grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Maximilian P. Mouse, time traveler series where readers can experience historic events through his eyes. In the sixth book of the series, Maximilian and his new friend, Marian Moleana, witness the famous “I have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Max is determined to get home in the time machine. Success as he returns to 2013 and now to use all of the lessons that he has learn during his trips. Can he save Tanner’s Glen? Fun way to learn about history.
Best Nfl Quarterbacks Of All Time
Sportszone/abdo [Sportszone/abdo]
Scheff, Matt
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
4th grade to 6th grade
April 30, 2014
Soel, Barbara
From the NFL’S Best ever Series, (ABDO) The Best NFL Quarterbacks of All Time is a well-organized and very attractive book that summarizes the careers of fourteen quarterbacks. It includes a color photo and important fact sheet for each one. Also included are an “honorable mentions” page, glossary, index, more facts, and table of contents. Due to its quality and visual appeal, this book will not stay on the shelf at any time of the year!
Pretty Princess Party : Hidden Picture Puzzles
Picture Window Books [Picture Window Books]
Kalz, Jill
Pullan, Jack & Len Epstein
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
Move over "I Spy" books, the Pretty Princess Party has hidden pictures to find on its pages. Fans of the genre will love these with some of the items more difficult to find than others. When finished, look for the eight items listed with their pictures without any knowledge of what pages to look on. Internet sites related to this book may be found on www.facthound.com with help of the code listed to type in. Other books in the series have the following themes: Christmas chaos; Halloween hide and seek; Out-of-this-world aliens; School shake-up; Zoo hideout. Have fun and keep searching.
Wish-For Dinosaur
CHILDS WORLD [CHILDS WORLD]
Moncure, Jane Belk
Regan, Dana
Additional Minus -- Mediocre.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 30, 2014
Williams, Karen I.
First two pages lead with a discussion that Libraries contain many "Word Windows" in it. What is a Word Window? A book. So let’s call it a book. Mason opens a book to see a dinosaur. When the two start talking, the dinosaur gives Mason a wish which is for the dinosaur to stay with him all day and be his pet. Granted. All sorts of problems arise because of the dinosaur's size and his parents say that the dinosaur must go. The Pet Fair at the park is where the duo end up with dinosaur winning the race, leading the pet parade, and winning the blue ribbon for best pet. But dinosaur must go as he only agreed to stay for one day. Last page has Questions and Activities with the suggestion to write down the answers that older students might do. Library binding and available in kindle
Here Comes Trouble!
Scholastic, Inc. [Scholastic, Inc.]
Demas, Corinne
Jones, Noah Z.
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade
April 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Toby, the dog from Always In Trouble, is back and his middle name might as well be TROUBLE, in capital letters. He get in trouble, when he tastes the cake, gets into the garbage, and digs up the daffodils. He hates cats and Pandora, the neighbor cat, is everything he dislikes in cats, slinky, snooty, snobby and now she has come to stay while her people are out of town. Toby, just can’t win, he even gets in trouble for things she does. On top of everything – Pandora wants nothing to do with Toby, she ignores him. Then Pandora gets stuck in a tree. Who comes to her rescue? Why Toby does, doing everything he can to get someone to help. Pandora finial decides to notice him. Young readers will enjoy Toby and Pandora’s antics, be upset when Toby is blamed for Pandora’s mischief. The bright cartoon style illustrations add to the story with the humorous expressions on Toby and Pandora’s faces. Some young readers may even identify with Toby – always the one in trouble. This is a good addition to an elementary library.
Once Upon A Balloon
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS [ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS]
Galbraith, Bree
Malenfant, Isabelle
Additional Plus -- Good solid book but has some minor flaws.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Theo and Zeke, two brothers, are given four balloons. Zeke gives Theo one and keeps the others, because Theo has a problem holding on to his balloons. Sure enough, as every child knows, the balloon escapes despite the tightly clenched fist holding the string. Theo wonders where did the balloon go. “To hold up the moon, says Dad.” “It probably popped when the air pressure changed, said Mom.” Theo did not believe them. He asked Zeke, because big brother Zeke knows everything. Zeke says they go to the Windy City – Chicago – to be collected by Frank, the Nocturnal City Collection Custodian. Theo wanted to know more so Zeke tells him that Frank had been on the job for 35 years with only one night off and then the balloons from an 110 year birthday celebration in Japan got away and clogged the freeways. Frank wants to retire but no one has applied for the job so he is building a robot to do his job. This is a fun story about a child’s flight of fancy about lost ballons. It gets somewhat involved in Frank's story. The illustrations evoke the feeling of nighttime work but still convey the happiness balloons impart. The length of the text will inhibit some readers, but still should be a good addition to your library.
Bad Birthday Idea
KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS [KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS]
Valentine, Madeline
Recommended -- Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
Kindergarten to 3rd grade
April 30, 2014
Cook, Kathryn
Alice wants to play with, big brother, Ben. He wants to play with robots – “No dolls allowed!” Alice asks for a Roby 2000 for her birthday, the robot that Ben dreams of having. The day of the party Ben is asked to put the family’s gift out to be opened with all of the others. Ben can’t resist, he opens up the robot and plays with it until it crashes into the wall and breaks. It is quickly put back in the box, wrapped up and hidden. The party goes on, Ben is miserable, when Mom and Dad notice that the family gift is missing they ask Ben to go get it. He returns with it and confesses. To make up for his actions Ben gives her his favorite robot. She forgives asking him to play. The moral is hard to miss but told in a way that will have young readers recalling some of their own less than stellar actions with siblings. There is some gender stereotyping and Ben could be seen as selfish, but the emotions of the story are true to daily life between siblings. The illustrations done in graphite, gouache, and colored pencils range in size from small vignettes arranged on the page to tell the action to full page spreads.The binding is adequate.